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Department Seminar: Can civil rights organizations deter discrimination?

Gabor Simonovits
Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 1:30 pm – 3:10 pm

Gabor Simonovits, Bori Simonovits , Adam Vig Peter Hobot Renata Nemeth Gabor Csomor


To what extent can human rights NGOs protect minorities against unequal treatment? We study this question by combining an audit experiment of 1260 local governments in Hungary with an intervention conducted in collaboration with a major Hungarian NGO. In the audit experiment we demonstrated that Roma individuals were about 15% less likely to receive responses to information request from local governments and the responses they received were of substantially lower quality. The intervention that reminded a random subset of local government of their legal responsibility of equal treatment lead to a short term reduction of discrimination, but its effects dissipated within a month. These findings suggest that human right NGOs might face substantive difficulties in reducing discrimination through standard information campaigns.

(Gabor Simonovits, Bori Simonovits, Adam Vig, Peter Hobot, Renata Nemeth, Gabor Csomor)