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Experimental Research on Labor Market Discrimination

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  • David Neumark

Abstract

Understanding whether labor market discrimination explains inferior labor market outcomes for many groups has drawn the attention of labor economists for decades—at least since the publication of Gary Becker's The Economics of Discrimination in 1957. The decades of research on discrimination in labor markets began with a regression-based "decomposition" approach, asking whether raw wage or earnings differences between groups—which might constitute prima facie evidence of discrimination—were in fact attributable to other productivity-related factors. Subsequent research—responding in large part to limitations of the regression-based approach—moved on to other approaches, such as using firm-level data to estimate both marginal productivity and wage differentials. In recent years, however, there has been substantial growth in experimental research on labor market discrimination—although the earliest experiments were done decades ago. Some experimental research on labor market discrimination takes place in the lab. But far more of it is done in the field, which makes this particular area of experimental research unique relative to the explosion of experimental economic research more generally. This paper surveys the full range of experimental literature on labor market discrimination, places it in the context of the broader research literature on labor market discrimination, discusses the experimental literature from many different perspectives (empirical, theoretical, and policy), and reviews both what this literature has taught us thus far, and what remains to be done.

Suggested Citation

  • David Neumark, 2018. "Experimental Research on Labor Market Discrimination," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 56(3), pages 799-866, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:56:y:2018:i:3:p:799-866
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.20161309
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    Cited by:

    1. Gradstein, Mark, 2019. "Misallocation of Talent and Human Capital: Political Economy Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 13574, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. repec:eee:ecolet:v:174:y:2019:i:c:p:140-143 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Ahmed, Ali & Hammarstedt, Mats, 2019. "Ethnic Discrimination in Contacts with Public Authorities: A Correspondence Test Among Swedish Municipalities," Working Paper Series 1271, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    4. Karl David Boulware & Kenneth N. Kuttner, 2018. "Labor market conditions and charges of discrimination: Is there a link?," Wesleyan Economics Working Papers 2018-007, Wesleyan University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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