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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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  3. 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.
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  6. Couch, Kenneth A. & Fairlie, Robert W., 2008. "Last Hired, First Fired? Black-White Unemployment and the Business Cycle," IZA Discussion Papers 3713, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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