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Racial Discrimination in the Labor Market for Recent College Graduates: Evidence from a Field Experiment

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  • Nunley John M.

    (Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, La Crosse, WI 54601, USA)

  • Pugh Adam

    (CUNA Mutual Group, Madison, WI 53705, USA)

  • Romero Nicholas

    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA)

  • Seals R. Alan

    (Department of Economics, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849-5049, USA)

Abstract

We present experimental evidence from a correspondence test of racial discrimination in the labor market for recent college graduates. We find strong evidence of differential treatment by race: black applicants receive approximately 14% fewer interview requests than their otherwise identical white counterparts. The racial gap in employment opportunities is larger when comparisons are made between job seekers with credentials that proxy for expected productivity and/or match quality. Moreover, the racial discrimination detected is driven by greater discrimination in jobs that require customer interaction. Various tests for the type of discrimination tend to support taste-based discrimination, but we are unable to rule out risk aversion on the part of employers as a possible explanation.

Suggested Citation

  • Nunley John M. & Pugh Adam & Romero Nicholas & Seals R. Alan, 2015. "Racial Discrimination in the Labor Market for Recent College Graduates: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 15(3), pages 1093-1125, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:15:y:2015:i:3:p:1093-1125:n:11
    DOI: 10.1515/bejeap-2014-0082
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    References listed on IDEAS

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