Job Market Paper
Do workers discriminate against their out-group employers? Evidence from an online labor market (with J. Bhattacharya and R. Banerjee)
Discrimination in labor markets is one of the pressing issues facing the developing as well as the developed countries. We define discrimination when, all else same, a less-favorable treatment is systematically meted out to the subordinate group (such as women, blacks, lower caste, or Muslims) as compared to the dominant group (men, whites, upper caste, or Christians). Discrimination not only lead to efficiency loss, lower growth, and escalated conflict in a society, but non-discriminatory behavior must be an end in itself for any just society. There is ample evidence from both developed and developing countries documenting the existence of discrimination (racial, religious, ethnic, or gender) in labor markets. There is vast literature in economics, which attempts to understand the sources of discrimination. However, the literature commonly presumes that labor market discrimination is one-sided: driven by employers towards their out-group employees. In this research, we restrict attention to racial identity and study possible discrimination in the reverse direction, i.e., we ask, do workers discriminate (say, by shirking or under-providing effort) for an out-group employer relative to an otherwise-identical, own-group one?
Research in Progress
Distributive effects of nudges
In this project, I am studying the impact of fatality count messages (x traffic deaths this year), displayed on message boards on major highways and interstates in some of the states in the United States, on driving behavior and driver’s welfare. The study explores the welfare implications of displaying the fatality count messages by accounting for the emotional cost of seeing such a message vis-a-vis the benefit of potentially avoided crashes because of this nudge. I study the distributive effects of these messages by stratifying drivers by their driving habits and eliciting their willingness to pay for this public good.
Economic Consequences of Affective Polarization (with T. Ditonto, D. Andersen, J. Bhattacharya)
In this study, we explore the economic consequences of increased polarization in American society. We investigate questions such as; Is there evidence that economic agents discriminate against others based on the political identity of those they interact with? If so, does the discrimination reflect group bias in that each player favors players of his group (in-group bias), or is there systematic discrimination against a rival political group (out-group bias)? Is this discrimination based on animus (a taste for discrimination)? Or, is it the outcome of stereotyping (statistical discrimination)? Finally, whether the economic agents deem political identity as important as other social identities such as gender, age, race in economic interactions. We run a series of incentivized lab games with a representative sample of individuals from all over the United States to investigate the above questions.