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Understanding Ethnic Identity in Africa: Evidence from the Implicit Association Test (IAT)

Sara Lowes, Nathan Nunn, James A. Robinson, Jonathan Weigel

NBER Working Paper No. 20885
Issued in January 2015
NBER Program(s):The Development Economics Program, The Economic Fluctuations and Growth Program, The Political Economy Program

We use a variant of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) to examine individuals’ implicit attitudes towards various ethnic groups. Using a population from the Democratic Republic of Congo, we find that the IAT measures show evidence of an implicit bias in favor of one’s own ethnicity. Individuals have implicit views of their own ethnic group that are more positive than their implicit views of other ethnic groups. We find this implicit bias to be quantitatively smaller than the (explicit) bias one finds when using self-reported attitudes about different ethnic groups.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20885

Published: Sara Lowes & Nathan Nunn & James A. Robinson & Jonathan Weigel, 2015. "Understanding Ethnic Identity in Africa: Evidence from the Implicit Association Test (IAT)," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 340-45, May. citation courtesy of

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