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Investigating the moral ideals and social norms of economic discrimination

Project description

Typology of economic discrimination based on ethics

The EcoDisc project, funded under Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, attempts to shed light on the ethics and typology of economic discrimination, rooted in either distaste or statistical differences. Through a systematic approach on ethnic and gender bias, the EcoDisc project will end up with a Denmark-wide depiction of economic discrimination. Coordinated by Aarhus University, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship recipient will go beyond economic behavior estimates by also sorting many relevant aspects of this phenomenon. The project’s input is expected to trigger further socioeconomic dialogue and legislative initiatives to tackle such issues of social injustice.


Do individuals consider economic discrimination rooted in statistical differences to be any fairer or more permissible than that rooted in dislike? Economists recognize two canonical types of discrimination: that based on distaste of some groups, taken as morally objectionable, and that based on statistical differences between groups, sometimes conjectured to be much more acceptable. Surprisingly, the literature stays silent on the types of discrimination that individuals actually hold to be morally correct (moral ideals) and says little about what they collectively recognize to be morally correct (social norms). A clear answer is important because ideals and norms have been shown to influence economic behavior and because it is a prerequisite for welfare analyses, policymaking, and proper societal debate. The possible application domains range from governmental policies on discriminatory practices in labor and residential markets to police search strategies and workplace training. EcoDisc will first develop a novel method using incentivized experiments to evaluate discriminatory behavior and underlying ideals and norms, for different types of ethnic and gender discrimination. Then, it will empirically estimate the distribution of such discrimination behavior, ideals, and norms using a countrywide representative sample of Denmark. The research is to be conducted at Aarhus University under the guidance of Professor Daniele Nosenzo, with a secondment at NHH Norwegian School of Economics FAIR under the guidance of FAIR director, Professor Bertil Tungodden.


Net EU contribution
€ 214 934,40
8000 Aarhus C

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Danmark Midtjylland Østjylland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
No data

Partners (1)