Conflict and the persistence of ethnic bias

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How persistent are the effects of conflict on bias toward co-ethnics? What are the channels of persistence? We employ a measure of ethnic bias derived from decisions made by Israeli Arab and Jewish judges to study the levels and determinants of bias during the 2000-2004 conflict and its aftermath (2007-2010). Despite the fall in violence, we find no evidence of a general attenuation in bias. Furthermore, bias remains positively associated with past intensity of violence in different localities. This persistence does not appear to be due to judges' personal exposure to violence but rather to different dynamics in afflicted areas.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)137-165
Number of pages29
JournalAmerican Economic Journal: Applied Economics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
* Shayo: Department of Economics, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel (email: mshayo@; Zussman: Department of Economics, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel (email: We thank two anonymous referees, Kate Antonovics, Eli Berman, Daniel Chen, Gordon Dahl, Ernesto Dal Bó, Badi Hasisi, Maria Petrova, Dan Posner, Nicholas Sambanis, and participants of seminars at Ben Gurion University, ETH Zurich, Hebrew University, Max Planck Institute Bonn, NBER Summer Institute 2014, the Political Economy of Conflicts and Development conference, Stanford, UCLA, UCSD, and the Vienna Workshop on Behavioral Public Economics for many valuable comments. Excellent research assistance was provided by Raya Adani, Eli Bing, Ana Danieli, Eitan Gadon, Noam Goldman, Lee Goren, Alon Grembeck, Vered Isman, Ohad Katz, Noa Litmanovitz, Netta Porzycki, Niva Porzycki, Lilach Rapaport, Ittai Shacham, Michal Shamir, Elad Shapira, Karin Telio, and Rozi Tshuva. Financial support for the project was generously provided by the Israel Science Foundation (grant 1411/12), the I-CORE Program of the Planning and Budgeting Committee at the ISF (grant no. 1821/12), and the Maurice Falk Institute. Shayo gratefully acknowledges support from the European Union, ERC Starting Grant Agreement no. 336659. The authors declare that they have no relevant or material financial interests that relate to the research described in the paper.


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