2017-2018 CIRS GU-Q Faculty Fellow

Mongoljin Batsaikhan is an assistant professor of Economics at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar. He received his Masters and Doctorate in Economics from Brown University after his BA in Economics from the University of Tokyo. His research fields are Development and Experimental Economics, with a special focus on industrial organization, entrepreneurship, small and medium size enterprises, and social capital. His publications include several scholarly articles in international scientific journals such as Management Science, Economic Inquiry and Journal of Public Economics.

Fellowship Research Question:

In the age of globalization, as our societies become more diverse, we face a fundamental and challenging problem that affects every part of our society: racial discrimination. Accordingly, discrimination has been a central question for many social sciences and humanities, and economics is not an exception. Economists split discrimination into two categories: statistical and taste-based. Statistical discrimination happens when the subject in question makes a decision based on the general information associated with an observable variable such as race or gender. For example, if an African American is less likely to be productive according to some statistics and if a hiring manager uses that information to hire other races over African American applicants, it is statistical discrimination. Taste-based discrimination is when the subject in question disfavors particular people simply because the subject does not like them. In the example of hiring above, taste-based discrimination would be evident if the manager does not like working with African Americans and hires people from other races for that reason. This distinction is made because each category has different policy implications. For statistical discrimination, providing essential information for the decision-maker should solve the problem. In the example above, if the hiring manager had information about the individual productivity of the potential hires, s/he would not need to use race as an indicator of productivity. Although the existence of discrimination is well documented in economics, distinguishing between these two types has always been a challenge. This project aims to document racial discrimination among Danish parents in school-choice decisions and to identify whether it is statistical discrimination. In the process of distinguishing statistical discrimination from taste-based, we also aim to identify the lack of essential information that is leading parents to discriminate. Finally, we study parental choice of schools based on the diversity profile of the schools. Studying how parental taste toward diversity affects the children’s educational environment can make an important contribution to our understanding of persistence of discrimination over generations.