Sexual identity, gender, and anticipated discrimination in prosocial behavior

Billur Aksoy, Ian Chadd, Boon Han Koh

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We study whether individuals strategically mask signals about their affinity with the LGBTQ+ community in response to anticipated discrimination in prosocial behavior. We use a sharing (dictator) game in an online experiment where recipients are given the opportunity to signal their LGBTQ+ affinity. Decision-makers, upon observing these signals, decide how much of their endowment to share with their matched recipients. Overall, there is a decrease (although statistically insignificant) in the proportions of recipients who signal their affinity with the LGBTQ+ community when they are informed that these signals will be revealed to decision-makers. Importantly, we find a gender difference: women are more likely to hide such signals given information about how the signals will be used. Auxiliary analysis suggests that this gender difference is likely due to women’s higher propensity to anticipate discrimination. Moreover, we find that decision-makers do not differ in their treatment of individuals based on signals of their LGBTQ+ affinity. However, the intersection between decision-makers’ perceptions of these signals, and both their political stance on social issues and their views about LGBTQ+ rights, matter in shaping their sharing behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104427
JournalEuropean Economic Review
Early online date15 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

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