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An Examination of Racial Discrimination in the Labor Market for Recent College Graduates: Estimates from the Field

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  • John M. Nunley
  • Adam Pugh
  • Nicholas Romero
  • Richard Alan Seals, Jr.

Abstract

We present experimental evidence from a correspondence test of racial discrimination in the labor market for recent college graduates. Online job advertisements were answered with over 9,000 résumé s from fictitious, recently-graduated job seekers. We find strong evidence of differential treatment by race: black applicants receive approximately 14 percent fewer interview requests than their otherwise identical white counterparts. The racial gap in employment opportunities increases as perceived productivity characteristics are added, which is difficult to reconcile with models of statistical discrimination. We investigate different channels through which the observed racial differences might occur and conclude that taste-based discrimination at the race-skill level is the most likely explanation. The racial differences identified operate primarily through customer-level discrimination.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Auburn University in its series Auburn Economics Working Paper Series with number auwp2014-06.

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Date of creation: Apr 2014
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Handle: RePEc:abn:wpaper:auwp2014-06

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Web page: http://cla.auburn.edu/economics/
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Keywords: Racial Discrimination; Employment; Productivity; Field Experiments; Correspondence Studies;

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References

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  1. Nunley, John M. & Owens, Mark F. & Howard, R. Stephen, 2011. "The effects of information and competition on racial discrimination: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 670-679.
  2. Kroft, Kory & Lange, Fabian & Notowidigdo, Matthew J., 2012. "Duration Dependence and Labor Market Conditions: Theory and Evidence from a Field Experiment," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2012-21, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 28 Sep 2012.
  3. Jennifer L. Doleac & Luke C.D. Stein, 2013. "The Visible Hand: Race and Online Market Outcomes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(11), pages F469-F492, November.
  4. Richard Startz & Lundberg, . "Private Discrimination and Social Intervention in Competitive Labor Markets," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 19-81, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
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  6. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Jonathan Guryan, 2011. "Studying Discrimination: Fundamental Challenges and Recent Progress," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 479-511, 09.
  7. Fryer, Roland G. & Pager, Devah & Spenkuch, Jörg L., 2011. "Racial Disparities in Job Finding and Offered Wages," MPRA Paper 33607, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Chaim Fershtman & Uri Gneezy, 2001. "Discrimination In A Segmented Society: An Experimental Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 351-377, February.
  9. Marianne Bertrand & Dolly Chugh & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2005. "Implicit Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 94-98, May.
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  14. Baert, Stijn & Cockx, Bart & Gheyle, Niels & Vandamme, Cora, 2013. "Do Employers Discriminate Less If Vacancies Are Difficult to Fill? Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 7145, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Philip Oreopoulos, 2011. "Why Do Skilled Immigrants Struggle in the Labor Market? A Field Experiment with Thirteen Thousand Resumes," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 148-71, November.
  16. Cornell, Bradford & Welch, Ivo, 1996. "Culture, Information, and Screening Discrimination," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 542-71, June.
  17. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 991-1013, September.
  18. Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2010. "Automatic associations and discrimination in hiring: Real world evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 523-534, June.
  19. Ahmed, Ali M. & Hammarstedt, Mats, 2008. "Discrimination in the rental housing market: A field experiment on the Internet," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 362-372, September.
  20. Ayres, Ian & Siegelman, Peter, 1995. "Race and Gender Discrimination in Bargaining for a New Car," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 304-21, June.
  21. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
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