The Effect of Social Policies Implementing Intergroup Contact on Discrimination | Max-Planck-Institut für Sozialrecht und Sozialpolitik - MPISOC
Research Projects
Law and Social Sciences
In Cooperation with Universität zu Köln

The Effect of Social Policies Implementing Intergroup Contact on Discrimination

Inter-group contact has been found to increase and to decrease discrimination in field experimental studies to vastly different extents. These conflicting results might originate from differences in addressed types of discrimination – i.e. whether discriminatory behavior arises from differences in tastes or beliefs– and differences in contact’s capacity to alter tastes and beliefs. Therefore, this article investigates the causal effect of contact on statistical and tasted-based discrimination as well as associated anticipation effects of the latter leading to a decrease in inter-group trust. In our experiment, individuals are assigned to teams comprising out-group members or remain in homogenous teams, interact in a cooperative task, and subsequently play different games apt to elicit their discriminatory tastes and beliefs about out-groups. Our contact intervention remedied taste-based discrimination by about 45%, while it had at the same time the property to foster statistical discrimination under unfortunate circumstances and no significant effect on inter-group trust. Derived lessons for policymakers concerned with the reduction of discrimination involve features that inclusive policies should strive for, a contact by changing preferences or beliefs, and thereby reducing different types of discrimination.

Contact Person(s)

Sergio Rubens Mittlaender Leme de Souza, Ph. D.

Cooperation Partner(s)

Dipl.-Vw. Lisa Lenz, M.A.

Universität zu Köln