Article | Social Psychological & Personality Science | November 2012

An Age Penalty in Racial Preferences

by Deborah A. Small, Devin G. Pope and Michael I. Norton


We document an age penalty in racial discrimination: charitable behavior toward African American children decreases-and negative stereotypical inferences increase-with the age of those children. Using data from an online charity that solicits donations for school projects, we found that proposals accompanied by images of older African American students (Grades 6-12) led to fewer donations than proposals with images of younger African Americans (pre-K-Grade 5), with the opposite pattern for proposals with images of multiples races or of all White students. A laboratory experiment demonstrated that negative stereotypical beliefs about African Americans (e.g., that they are lazy) increased with age more for African American children than for White children, a pattern that predicted decreases in giving.

Keywords: Online Technology; Age; Race; Forecasting and Prediction; Projects; Giving and Philanthropy;


Small, Deborah A., Devin G. Pope, and Michael I. Norton. "An Age Penalty in Racial Preferences." Social Psychological & Personality Science 3, no. 6 (November 2012): 730–737.