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Taste-based discrimination evidence from a shift in ethnic preferences after WWI

Moser, Petra

Explorations in economic history, 2012-04, Vol.49 (2), p.167-188 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Taste-based discrimination evidence from a shift in ethnic preferences after WWI
  • Author: Moser, Petra
  • Subjects: World War I ; NYSE ; Discrimination ; Preferences ; Analysis
  • Is Part Of: Explorations in economic history, 2012-04, Vol.49 (2), p.167-188
  • Description: This paper uses program notes from the Metropolitan opera to quantify changes in ethnic preferences as a result of news of German atrocities during World War I; these data indicate that the War created a persistent shift in ethnic preferences, which effectively switched the status of German Americans from a mainstream ethnicity to an ethnic minority until the late 1920s. Difference-in-difference analyses investigate whether this shift in preferences triggered taste-based discrimination in one of the world's most elite professional settings: applications to trade at the NYSE. This analysis indicates that changes in preferences more than doubled the probability that applicants with German-sounding names would be rejected. Placebo regressions for other non-German minorities yield no evidence of taste effects. Equivalent regressions that distinguish German Jewish from other Jewish applicants, however, indicate that German Jewish applicants were similarly affected as were other Germans. ► This paper presents a two part empirical test for taste-based discrimination. ► The first part constructs quantitative measures of changes in ethnic preferences as a result of WWI. ► The second part tests whether changes in preferences affected elite applicants to trade at the NYSE. ► WWI more doubled the likelihood that applicants with German-sounding names would be rejected. ► Changes in preferences had no effects on the price of NYSE seats.
  • Publisher: Elsevier Inc
  • Language: English
  • Identifier: ISSN: 0014-4983
    EISSN: 1090-2457
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2011.12.003

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