讲座：Statistical Discrimination, Taste-based Bias and Cognitive Bias -- Analyzing Grading Bias Caused by Handwriting Quality in a Randomized Control Trial
题 目： Statistical Discrimination, Taste-based Bias and Cognitive Bias -- Analyzing Grading Bias Caused by Handwriting Quality in a Randomized Control Trial
演讲人：Jianfeng Xu, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
主持人： 赵锂 博士 上海交通大学安泰经济与管理学院经济系
时 间：2017年 10 月 18 日（周三 ） 14:30-16:00
地 点：上海交通大学 徐汇校区新上院S202室
Poor handwriting has biological roots. Grading of the content can be biased against poor handwriting. If so, this bias could have caused unequal opportunities and thus satisfies the definition of discrimination. This study is the first to estimate this bias and finds it influences 3% of high school admission results. To quantify handwriting quality, this study conducts a field experiment in a prefecture of China utilizing special rubrics for handwriting quality. To break the intrinsic correlation between handwriting and content quality, this study randomly creates two handwritten versions for each of the 800 essays. The estimated bias is about 0.44 stand deviation, which means 1 point in handwriting (0-5) causes 2.45 points bias in content scores (0-60). Further experiments break the mechanism of this bias into statistical profiling and Becker’s taste-based bias, and the statistical profiling is found to be negligible. This study also identifies that the Becker’s taste-based bias is consist of the true taste-based bias and two cognitive biases (halo effect and cognitive fluency effect). Although the context is specific, this experiment is the first to estimate halo effect, and it suggests that Becker’s taste-based bias may include unconscious discrimination caused by behavioral factors. To correct the attenuation bias caused by measurement error, this study develops a new instrumental variable estimator which improves the asymptotic property of traditional instrumental variable estimators.
Jianfeng Xu is a job market candidate at Department of Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before studying economics, he won Olympiad Medal in Biology, graduated from Fudan University with B.S in Life Sciences and University of Toledo with M.S. in Mathematics. His research interests include Labor economics, Development economics and Behavioral Economics. This talk is his job market paper.