Panel Paper: Awareness Reduces Racial Bias

Saturday, November 10, 2012 : 3:50 PM
Schaefer (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Devin Pope, Booth Business School, University of Chicago, Joseph Price, Brigham Young University and Justin Wolfers, University of Pennsylvania

Can empirical studies that raise awareness of racial bias impact decision making? We address this question by exploiting the widespread media attention of racial bias among NBA referees that occurred in May 2007 following the release of an academic paper. Using new data, we find that racial bias continued to exist in the NBA prior to the media coverage, but then completely disappeared during the four years thereafter. These results suggest that publicly documenting cases of racial bias can bring about meaningful change.