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An Examination of Racial Discrimination in the Labor Market for Recent College Graduates: Estimates from the Field

Author

Listed:
  • John M. Nunley
  • Adam Pugh
  • Nicholas Romero
  • Richard Alan Seals, Jr.

Abstract

We present experimental evidence from a correspondence test of racial discrimination in the labor market for recent college graduates. Online job advertisements were answered with over 9,000 résumé s from fictitious, recently-graduated job seekers. We find strong evidence of differential treatment by race: black applicants receive approximately 14 percent fewer interview requests than their otherwise identical white counterparts. The racial gap in employment opportunities increases as perceived productivity characteristics are added, which is difficult to reconcile with models of statistical discrimination. We investigate different channels through which the observed racial differences might occur and conclude that taste-based discrimination at the race-skill level is the most likely explanation. The racial differences identified operate primarily through customer-level discrimination.

Suggested Citation

  • John M. Nunley & Adam Pugh & Nicholas Romero & Richard Alan Seals, Jr., 2014. "An Examination of Racial Discrimination in the Labor Market for Recent College Graduates: Estimates from the Field," Auburn Economics Working Paper Series auwp2014-06, Department of Economics, Auburn University.
  • Handle: RePEc:abn:wpaper:auwp2014-06
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    File URL: https://cla.auburn.edu/econwp/Archives/2014/2014-06.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. Zschirnt, Eva & Ruedin, Didier, 2016. "Ethnic discrimination in hiring decisions: A meta-analysis of correspondence tests 1990–2015," EconStor Preprints 142176, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    3. Scott Middleton & Jinhua Zhao, 2020. "Discriminatory attitudes between ridesharing passengers," Transportation, Springer, vol. 47(5), pages 2391-2414, October.
    4. Yemane, Ruta, 2020. "Cumulative disadvantage? The role of race compared to ethnicity, religion, and non-white phenotype in explaining hiring discrimination in the U.S. labour market," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    5. Ruomeng Cui & Jun Li & Dennis J. Zhang, 2020. "Reducing Discrimination with Reviews in the Sharing Economy: Evidence from Field Experiments on Airbnb," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(3), pages 1071-1094, March.
    6. Nekeisha Spencer & Mikhail-Ann Urquhart & Patrice Whitely, 2020. "Class Discrimination? Evidence from Jamaica: A Racially Homogeneous Labor Market," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 52(1), pages 77-95, March.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Racial Discrimination; Employment; Productivity; Field Experiments; Correspondence Studies;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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