NBER

Alex Imas

Social and Decision Sciences
Carnegie Mellon University
Porter Hall 319C
500 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Carnegie Mellon University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2019Inaccurate Statistical Discrimination: An Identification Problem
with J. Aislinn Bohren, Kareem Haggag, Devin G. Pope: w25935
Discrimination has been widely studied in the social sciences. Economists often categorize the source of discrimination as either taste-based or statistical—a valuable distinction for policy design and welfare analysis. In this paper, we highlight that in many situations economic agents may have inaccurate beliefs, and demonstrate that the possibility of inaccurate statistical discrimination generates an identification problem for attempts to isolate the source of differential treatment. We introduce isodiscrimination curves—which represent the set of preferences and beliefs that generate the same level of discrimination—to formally outline the identification problem: when not accounted for, inaccurate statistical discrimination can be mistaken for taste-based discrimination, accura...
February 2015Estimating Individual Ambiguity Aversion: A Simple Approach
with Uri Gneezy, John List: w20982
We introduce a simple, easy to implement instrument for jointly eliciting risk and ambiguity attitudes. Using this instrument, we structurally estimate a two-parameter model of preferences. Our findings indicate that ambiguity aversion is significantly overstated when risk neutrality is assumed. This highlights the interplay between risk and ambiguity attitudes as well as the importance of joint estimation. In addition, over our stakes levels we find no difference in the estimated parameters when incentives are real or hypothetical, raising the possibility that a simple hypothetical question can provide insights into an individuals preferences over ambiguity in such economic environments.

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