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Evidence on Discrimination in Employment: Codes of Color, Codes of Gender

  • William A. Darity
  • Patrick L. Mason

There is substantial racial and gender disparity in the American economy. As we will demonstrate, discriminatory treatment within the labor market is a major cause of this inequality. Yet, there appear to have been particular periods in which racial minorities, and then women, experienced substantial reductions in economic disparity and discrimination. Some questions remain: Why did the movement toward racial equality stagnate after the mid-1970s? What factors are most responsible for the remaining gender inequality? What is the role of the competitive process in elimination or reproduction of discrimination in employment? How successful has the passage of federal antidiscrimination legislation in the 1960s been in producing an equal opportunity environment where job applicants are now evaluated on their qualifications? To give away the answer at the outset, discrimination by race has diminished somewhat, and discrimination by gender has diminished substantially; neither employment discrimination by race or by gender is close to ending. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and subsequent related legislation has purged American society of the most overt forms of discrimination, while discriminatory practices have continued in more covert and subtle forms. Furthermore, racial discrimination is masked and rationalized by widely-held presumptions of black inferiority.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.12.2.63
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 12 (1998)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Pages: 63-90

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:12:y:1998:i:2:p:63-90
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.12.2.63
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  1. Harrison, Bennett, 1972. "Education and Underemployment in the Urban Ghetto," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 796-812, December.
  2. Anne O. Krueger, 1963. "The Economics of Discrimination," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 71, pages 481.
  3. Paula England, 1982. "The Failure of Human Capital Theory to Explain Occupational Sex Segregation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(3), pages 358-370.
  4. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
  5. Gary Burtless, 1995. "International Trade and the Rise in Earnings Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(2), pages 800-816, June.
  6. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1992. "School Quality and Black-White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 151-200, February.
  7. Neumark, David, 1996. "Sex Discrimination in Restaurant Hiring: An Audit Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 915-41, August.
  8. Peter Gottschalk, 1997. "Inequality, Income Growth, and Mobility: The Basic Facts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 21-40, Spring.
  9. Leonard, Jonathan S, 1989. "Women and Affirmative Action," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 61-75, Winter.
  10. Michael Fix & Raymond Struyk, 1993. "Clear and convincing evidence: Measurement of discrimination in america," Natural Field Experiments 00241, The Field Experiments Website.
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