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Discrimination in the Post-Civil Rights Era: Beyond Market Interactions


  • Glenn C. Loury


This comment argues that discrimination against blacks remains important, especially in labor markets, but that its extent is modest both by historical standards and in relation to supply-side racial disparities. It contends that the racial skills gap is endogenous, reflecting the effects of historical and ongoing discrimination; and that the moral obligation to reduce disparities in skills between the races is no less than the obligation to fight market discrimination. Finally, it suggests that imperfect information may be a more pervasive and intractable cause of racial discrimination today than is behavior based on agents' purported distaste for associating with blacks.

Suggested Citation

  • Glenn C. Loury, 1998. "Discrimination in the Post-Civil Rights Era: Beyond Market Interactions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 117-126, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:12:y:1998:i:2:p:117-26 Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.12.2.117

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Samuel Bowles & Glenn C. Loury & Rajiv Sethi, 2014. "Group Inequality," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 129-152, February.
    2. Kevin Lang, 1986. "A Language Theory of Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(2), pages 363-382.
    3. Cornell, Bradford & Welch, Ivo, 1996. "Culture, Information, and Screening Discrimination," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 542-571, June.
    4. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
    5. Coate, Stephen & Loury, Glenn, 1993. "Antidiscrimination Enforcement and the Problem of Patronization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 92-98, May.
    6. Smith, James P, 1993. "Affirmative Action and the Racial Wage Gap," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 79-84, May.
    7. Harry J. Holzer, 1994. "Black employment problems: New evidence, old questions," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(4), pages 699-722.
    8. Loury, Glenn C, 1981. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Distribution of Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 843-867, June.
    9. Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1992. "The Determinants of Black-White Differences in Early Employment Careers: Search, Layoffs, Quits, and Endogenous Wage Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 535-560, June.
    10. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-661, September.
    11. Lundberg, Shelly J & Startz, Richard, 1983. "Private Discrimination and Social Intervention in Competitive Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 340-347, June.
    12. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser, 1997. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 827-872.
    13. 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 869-895, October.
    14. Dennis J. Aigner & Glen G. Cain, 1977. "Statistical Theories of Discrimination in Labor Markets," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(2), pages 175-187, January.
    15. Glenn C. Loury, 1976. "A Dynamic Theory of Racial Income Differences," Discussion Papers 225, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    16. Edwin S. Mills & Luan Sende Lubuele, 1997. "Inner Cities," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 727-756, June.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination


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