Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Job assignment and promotion under statistical discrimination: evidence from the early careers of lawyers

Contents:

Author Info

  • Lehmann, Jee-Yeon

Abstract

Minorities continue to be severely underrepresented at the top levels of most occupations despite making dramatic gains in initial access to them. This fact is particularly striking in the legal profession where blacks are well represented in each associate class yet face significantly lower probabilities of making partner. To explain this divergence in the career paths of blacks and whites, I develop a dynamic model of statistical discrimination in which firms diversify their workforce by lowering the hiring standard for blacks. Despite such a diversity goal at hiring, task assignment and promotion decisions are not constrained by this policy. In this institutional setting, the model predicts that although blacks are more likely to be hired compared to observably similar whites, they are more likely to be placed in worse tasks and less likely to be promoted conditional on the same set of observables. However, conditional on task assignment, blacks and whites face similar promotion rates. I test the model's predictions using new data from the After the JD study -- a unique longitudinal survey tracking the professional lives of more than 4,000 lawyers. Compared to whites of similar credentials, blacks are much more likely to be hired into the best law firms. However, they are assigned to worse tasks and are less likely to be a partner. This black-white difference in promotion rates can be explained by quality differences in task assignments early in the associates' careers even controlling for measures of effort and career preferences. Results from this paper provide a unique explanation for the underrepresentation of minorities at the top of professional ladders by revealing how incompatible strategies in job assignment can reduce the number of minority promotions compared to the case without affirmative action.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/33466/
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 33466.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:33466

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Schackstr. 4, D-80539 Munich, Germany
Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2219
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-3900
Web page: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Discrimination; Job assignment; promotion; lawyers; statistical discrimination; inequality;

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Francine Blau & Jed DeVaro, 2006. "New Evidence on Gender Differences in Promotion Rates: An Empirical Analysis of a Sample of New Hires," Working Papers 891, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. Susan Athey, 1998. "Mentoring and Diversity," Working papers 98-2, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. David Bjerk, 2008. "Glass Ceilings or Sticky Floors? Statistical Discrimination in a Dynamic Model of Hiring and Promotion," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(530), pages 961-982, 07.
  4. Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf & Zweimuller, Josef, 1997. "Unequal Assignment and Unequal Promotion in Job Ladders," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 43-71, January.
  5. James B. Rebitzer & Lowell J. Taylor, 1991. "Do Labor Markets Provide Enough Short Hour Jobs? An Analysis of Work Hours and Work Incentives," NBER Working Papers 3883, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. James B. Rebitzer & Lowell J. Taylor, 2006. "When Knowledge is an Asset: Explaining the Organizational Structure of Large Law Firms," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_477, Levy Economics Institute.
  7. Hanming Fang & Andrea Moro, 2010. "Theories of Statistical Discrimination and Affirmative Action: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 15860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Landers, Renee M & Rebitzer, James B & Taylor, Lowell J, 1996. "Rat Race Redux: Adverse Selection in the Determination of Work Hours in Law Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 329-48, June.
  9. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-95, October.
  10. Kevin Lang & Jee-Yeon K. Lehmann, 2011. "Racial Discrimination In The Labor Market: Theory And Empirics," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2011-019, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  11. Suman Ghosh & Michael Waldman, 2006. "Standard Promotion Practices Versus Up-Or-Out Contracts," Working Papers 06007, Department of Economics, College of Business, Florida Atlantic University.
  12. Fryer, Roland, 2007. "Belief Flipping in a Dynamic Model of Statistical Discrimination," Scholarly Articles 2955768, Harvard University Department of Economics.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Kevin Lang & Jee-Yeon K. Lehmann, 2011. "Racial Discrimination In The Labor Market: Theory And Empirics," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2011-019, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  2. Lehmann, Jee-Yeon & Smith, Jeremy, 2011. "Attorney empowerment in Voir Dire and the racial composition of juries," MPRA Paper 36338, University Library of Munich, Germany.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:33466. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.