Racial Stereotypes

Published: 22 June 2020| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/mpxv2x5m7f.1
angela povoa


This study focuses on the influence of racial information on the agents’ decision-making in economic interactions based on game theory: more specifically, the ultimatum game (UG) and the dictator game (DG). We adopted the experiment as our research strategy, and we introduced a new treatment in which we indirectly revealed the race of a subject’s counterpart to each player. We found that, in the ultimatum game (UG), the “Proposers” made a higher offer to players identified as African and Asian descendants, while lower offers were made to Europeans. When we repeated the experiment using the dictator game (DG), only African descendants received higher transfers. We observed that distinct reasons guided the decision-making process in both games and racial stereotypes showed its relevance to economic interactions. Prosocial concerns increased transfers made to those of African descent in both games, while a more self-regarding feeling guided the transfers to the white participants. Transfers made to Asians were divergent: they were higher in UG but lower in DG revealing strategic reasons related to the game splits. Data are related to the game experiment.


Steps to reproduce

Three experimental groups played the UG, while the other three groups played the DG. Each experimental group in the UG or DG was paired with a second player described as being a descendant of Europeans, Africans, or Asians. Therefore, we adopted a 2x3 research design consisting of UG and DG economic games paired with three racial profiles. Our first mover´s sample was composed of 160 players in the UG plus 163 players in the DG in a one-shot game.


Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Parana


Social Sciences, Applied Social Psychology