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Prejudice and racial matches in employment

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  • Bond, Timothy N.
  • Lehmann, Jee-Yeon K.

Abstract

We develop a model in which some employers hold unobservable racial prejudice towards black workers. Workers, however, observe a signal of prejudice status – the presence of a black supervisor. Jobs in firms with black supervisors hold higher option value for black workers, because they are less likely to face prejudice-based termination. Hence, black workers are willing to accept employment with lower expected match quality from firms with black supervisors. We derive predictions on differences in wages and job stability across supervisor race and prejudice levels and find empirical support for them using unique longitudinal data on workers’ supervisors and state-level measures of prejudice.

Suggested Citation

  • Bond, Timothy N. & Lehmann, Jee-Yeon K., 2018. "Prejudice and racial matches in employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 271-293.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:51:y:2018:i:c:p:271-293
    DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2018.02.004
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Prejudice; Racial discrimination; Supervisor race;

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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