The study is the second wave of the Trustlab survey (Murtin et al., 2018), which has already been conducted in the US (and in six other countries). The main objective of the survey is to measure experimentally trust in others and (within a survey) trust in government in a representative sample – according to age, gender, and income - of the US population. As detailed below, the survey includes several games. For the purpose of the present study, we are mainly interested in anonymous Trust Games (TGs) where participants are randomly matched with other US residents, whose ethnic background is either not specified, or specified as belonging to one of the following categories: (a) non-Hispanic white; (b) African American; (c) Hispanic. Furthermore, second movers from ethnic groups (a) through (c) have either an unspecified income level or their income level is specified as belonging to the top 20% of the income distribution. We have thus a total of seven TGs. For the purpose of disentangling individual motivations behind trust choices, we also use seven Dictator Games (DGs) and seven belief elicitation questions on second movers’ behaviour, where the recipient belongs to the same categories listed above.
The main hypothesis we want to study is whether the existential threat posed by COVID-19 leads to greater ingroup bias. We already demonstrated the existence of significant ingroup bias in Cetre et al. (2020), across all of the three ethnic groups that are targeted in our study. In this second wave, we want to ascertain whether ingroup bias is higher in the time of COVID-19 than before. We also decompose ingroup bias into taste-based and statistical discrimination components.
Cetre, Sophie, Yann Algan, Gianluca Grimalda, Fabrice Murtin, Louis Putterman, Ulrich Schmidt, Vincent Siegerink (2020). Ethnic bias, economic success, and trust: findings from large sample experiments in Germany and the U.S. OECD Working Paper series (forthcoming)
Murtin, F., Fleischer, L., Siegerink, V., Aassve, A., Algan, Y., Boarini, R., ... & Kim, S. (2018). Trust and its determinants. OECD Working Paper 2018/02; https://doi.org/10.1787/869ef2ec-en