Competitive Preferences and Ethnicity: Experimental Evidence from Bangladesh

Abu Siddique, Michael Vlassopoulos

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We investigate whether aversion to competing against members of the ethnically dominant group could be a contributing factor to the persistent disadvantageous socioeconomic position of ethnic minorities. We conducted a lab-in-the-field experiment in rural Bangladesh, randomly assigning participants into groups with different ethnic composition. We find that the ethnic minority group (Santal) are less likely to compete in groups where they are a numerical minority than when all competitors are co-ethnic, whereas the reverse is true for the ethnic majority group (Bengali). Further analysis suggests that differences in social power and status underpin these differences in preferences for interethnic competition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-821
Number of pages29
JournalThe Economic Journal
Issue number627
Early online date5 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

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