"Do Survey Measures of Racial Prejudice Predict Racial Discrimination? Experimental Evidence on Anti-Black Discrimination in Resource Allocations"
- Gregory Huber, Professor in the Department of Political Science, Yale University.
Scholars regularly measure whites’ racial attitudes using symbolic racism (racial resentment) and, more rarely, overt prejudice batteries. Symbolic racism is a strong predictor of race-related policy attitudes and other political outcomes, but has been criticized for being tightly tied to conservative social value orientations and other (non-race related) factors that might explain conservative attitudes toward race-related policies. In this paper, we examine the predictive power of both overt and symbolic racism measures in explaining anti-black discrimination by white Americans. In Study 1 we obtain a behavioral measure of racial discrimination using the Ultimatum Game (UG). In Study 2 we ask white third-party observers to evaluate the fairness of interactions among black and white players in the UG. In Study 1, we find that white responders in the UG were more likely to engage in costly discrimination against black proposers by rejecting offers they would otherwise accept from whites. Further, we demonstrate that overt racism predicts which whites discriminate whereas the symbolic racism measure does not. In Study 2 we also find that overt racism predicts racially biased evaluations of the fairness of resource distributions made by black proposers to white responders but symbolic racism does not, suggesting that racially biased conceptions of fairness are a plausible explanation for the discriminatory behavior of prejudiced individuals. These results have important implications for how we measure whites’ racial attitudes and the theoretical constructs underlying both symbolic and overt racism measures.
This talk is part of the American Politics Speaker Series, organized by Prof. Jon Rogowski and sponsored by the Harvard Department of Government and the Center for American Political Studies (CAPS). This event is free and open to the public.