Scapegoating in evaluation decisions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Scapegoating – attributing inordinate blame for a negative outcome to a target individual or group – is considered an important driver of discrimination by psychologists, but has received little attention by economists. This paper helps fill the gap by providing evidence for scapegoating in a natural setting. Using data on three million driving tests held in Israel, I find that an increase in the number of unrelated traffic accident fatalities leads driving testers to discriminate against out-group students. Scapegoating characterizes all groups of testers – Jewish and Arab, male and female – and works to increase ethnic in-group bias and decrease gender out-group bias.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)152-163
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Discrimination
  • Ethnicity
  • Evaluation decisions
  • Gender
  • Scapegoating


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