IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/sej/ancoec/v761y2009p16-31.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Statistical Discrimination in Labor Markets: An Experimental Analysis

Author

Listed:
  • David L. Dickinson

    () (Department of Economics, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28607, USA)

  • Ronald L. Oaxaca

    () (Department of Economics, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0108, USA)

Abstract

This article reports results from controlled laboratory experiments designed to study secondmoment (that is, risk-based) statistical discrimination in a labor market setting. Since decision makers may not view risk in the same way as economists or statisticians (that is, risk 5 variance of distribution), we also examine alternative measures of risk: the support of the distribution and the probability of earning less than the expected (maximum) profits for the employer. Our results indicate that employers made statistically discriminatory wage offers consistent with loss aversion in our full sample (though the result is driven by the male employer subsample). If one can transfer these results outside of the laboratory, they indicate that discrimination estimates based only on first-moment (mean-based) discrimination are biased. The public policy implication is that efforts and legislation aimed at reducing discrimination of various sorts face an additional challenge in trying to identify and limit relatively hidden, but significant, forms of statistical discrimination.

Suggested Citation

  • David L. Dickinson & Ronald L. Oaxaca, 2009. "Statistical Discrimination in Labor Markets: An Experimental Analysis," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 16-31, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:76:1:y:2009:p:16-31
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.4284/sej.2009.76.1.16
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Chaim Fershtman & Uri Gneezy, 2001. "Discrimination in a Segmented Society: An Experimental Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 351-377.
    2. David W. Harless & George E. Hoffer, 2002. "Do Women Pay More for New Vehicles? Evidence from Transaction Price Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 270-279, March.
    3. Kevin Lang, 1986. "A Language Theory of Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(2), pages 363-382.
    4. Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 923-955, December.
    5. Vernon L. Smith, 1965. "Experimental Auction Markets and the Walrasian Hypothesis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73, pages 387-387.
    6. David Dickinson & Ronald Oaxaca, 2005. "The Equivalence of Panel Data Estimators under Orthogonal Experimental Design," Working Papers 05-07, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
    7. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101.
    8. Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, 2001. "Employer Learning and Statistical Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 313-350.
    9. 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.
    10. John A. List, 2004. "The Nature and Extent of Discrimination in the Marketplace: Evidence from the Field," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 49-89.
    11. Ayres, Ian & Siegelman, Peter, 1995. "Race and Gender Discrimination in Bargaining for a New Car," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 304-321, June.
    12. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1996. "Dealer Price Discrimination in New Car Purchases: Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 622-654, June.
    13. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    14. Helen F. Ladd, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Mortgage Lending," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 41-62, Spring.
    15. 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.
    16. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1998. "What Has Economics to Say about Racial Discrimination?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 91-100, Spring.
    17. Davis, Douglas D., 1987. "Maximal quality selection and discrimination in employment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 97-112, March.
    18. 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.
    19. Curley, Shawn P. & Yates, J. Frank, 1985. "The center and range of the probability interval as factors affecting ambiguity preferences," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 273-287, October.
    20. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Drydakis, Nick, 2011. "Roma Women in Athenian Firms: Do They Face Wage Bias?," IZA Discussion Papers 5732, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. David Neumark & Judith Rich, 2016. "Do Field Experiments on Labor and Housing Markets Overstate Discrimination? A Re-examination of the Evidence," NBER Working Papers 22278, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. David L. Dickinson & Ronald L. Oaxaca, 2014. "Wages, Employment, And Statistical Discrimination: Evidence From The Laboratory," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(4), pages 1380-1391, October.
    4. Baert, Stijn, 2015. "Hiring a Homosexual, Taking a Risk? A Lab Experiment on Employment Discrimination and Risk Aversion," IZA Discussion Papers 9536, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. David Masclet & Emmanuel Peterle & Sophie Larribeau, 2012. "The Role of Information in Deterring Discrimination: A New Experimental Evidence of Statistical Discrimination," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201238, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
    6. Lionel Désiage, 2010. "What are Entrepreneurs’ Objectives When Starting a New Business?," TEPP Working Paper 2010-06, TEPP.
    7. Rödin, Magnus & Özcan, Gülay, 2011. "Is It How You Look or Speak That Matters? - An Experimental Study Exploring the Mechanisms of Ethnic Discrimination," Research Papers in Economics 2011:12, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    8. Yariv Fadlon, 2015. "Statistical Discrimination and the Implication of Employer-Employee Racial Matches," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 232-248, June.
    9. Beaurain, Guillaume & Masclet, David, 2016. "Does affirmative action reduce gender discrimination and enhance efficiency? New experimental evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 350-362.
    10. David Neumark, 2012. "Detecting Discrimination in Audit and Correspondence Studies," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(4), pages 1128-1157.
    11. David L. Dickinson & David Masclet & Emmanuel Peterle, 2017. "Discrimination as favoritism: The private benefits and social costs of in-group favoritism in an experimental labor market," Working Papers hal-01482006, HAL.
    12. Ronald L. Oaxaca & David L. Dickinson, 2016. "Symmetric experimental designs: conditions for equivalence of panel data estimators," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(1), pages 85-95, May.
    13. Charness, Gary & Kuhn, Peter, 2011. "Lab Labor: What Can Labor Economists Learn from the Lab?," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    14. Joshua Pitts & Daniel Yost, 2013. "Racial Position Segregation in Intercollegiate Football: Do Players become more Racially Segregated as they Transition from High School to College?," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 207-230, June.
    15. Marco Caliendo & Steffen Künn, 2015. "Getting back into the labor market: the effects of start-up subsidies for unemployed females," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(4), pages 1005-1043, October.
    16. Rödin, Magnus & Özcan, Gülay, 2011. "Is It How You Look or Speak That Matters? - An Experimental Study Exploring the Mechanisms of Ethnic Discrimination," SULCIS Working Papers 2011:3, Stockholm University, Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS.
    17. Castillo, Marco & Petrie, Ragan, 2010. "Discrimination in the lab: Does information trump appearance?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 50-59, January.
    18. Magnus Rodin & Gulay Ozcan, 2013. "Is It How You Look or Speak That Matters? “An Experimental Study Exploring the Mechanisms of Ethnic Discrimination”," Working Papers 009, Bahcesehir University, Betam.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:76:1:y:2009:p:16-31. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Laura Razzolini). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/seaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.