IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

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

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

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Auburn University in its series Auburn Economics Working Paper Series with number auwp2014-06.

in new window

Date of creation: Apr 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:abn:wpaper:auwp2014-06
Contact details of provider: Postal: 0326 Haley Center, Auburn University, AL 36849-5049
Phone: (334) 844-4910
Fax: (334) 844-4615
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Stefan Eriksson & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2014. "Do Employers Use Unemployment as a Sorting Criterion When Hiring? Evidence from a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 1014-39, March.
  2. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Jonathan Guryan, 2011. "Studying Discrimination: Fundamental Challenges and Recent Progress," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 479-511, 09.
  3. Cornell, Bradford & Welch, Ivo, 1996. "Culture, Information, and Screening Discrimination," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 542-71, June.
  4. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:119:y:2004:i:1:p:49-89 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. S. Baert & B. Cockx & N. Gheyle & C. Vandamme, 2013. "Do Employers Discriminate Less if Vacancies Are Difficult to Fill? Evidence From a Field Experiment," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 13/830, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  6. M. Angeles Carnero Fernández & Lídia Farré Olalla & Mariano Bosch, 2009. "Information and discrimination in the rental housing market: evidence from a field experiment," Working Papers. Serie AD 2009-21, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  7. Couch, Kenneth A. & Fairlie, Robert W., 2008. "Last Hired, First Fired? Black-White Unemployment and the Business Cycle," IZA Discussion Papers 3713, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. 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 304-21, June.
  9. Jennifer L. Doleac & Luke C.D. Stein, 2010. "The Visible Hand: Race and Online Market Outcomes," Discussion Papers 09-015, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  10. Kroft, Kory & Lange, Fabian & Notowidigdo, Matthew J., 2012. "Duration Dependence and Labor Market Conditions: Theory and Evidence from a Field Experiment," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2012-21, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 28 Sep 2012.
  11. Roland G. Fryer, Jr & Devah Pager & Jörg L. Spenkuch, 2011. "Racial Disparities in Job Finding and Offered Wages," NBER Working Papers 17462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. David Neumark, 2012. "Detecting Discrimination in Audit and Correspondence Studies," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(4), pages 1128-1157.
  13. Ahmed, Ali M. & Hammarstedt, Mats, 2008. "Discrimination in the rental housing market: A field experiment on the Internet," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 362-372, September.
  14. Carlsson, Magnus & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2006. "Evidence of Ethnic Discrimination in the Swedish Labor Market Using Experimental Data," IZA Discussion Papers 2281, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
  16. John List, 2004. "The nature and extent of discrimination in the marketplace: Evidence from the field," Natural Field Experiments 00299, The Field Experiments Website.
  17. Joanna Lahey, 2006. "Age, Women, and Hiring: An Experimental Study," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2006-23, Center for Retirement Research, revised Nov 2006.
  18. Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2010. "Automatic associations and discrimination in hiring: Real world evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 523-534, June.
  19. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2003. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 9873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Fershtman, C. & Gneezy, U., 2000. "Discrimination in a Segmented Society: an Experimental Approach," Papers 2000-9, Tel Aviv.
  21. 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 340-47, June.
  22. Philip Oreopoulos, 2011. "Why Do Skilled Immigrants Struggle in the Labor Market? A Field Experiment with Thirteen Thousand Resumes," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 148-71, November.
  23. Marianne Bertrand & Dolly Chugh & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2005. "Implicit Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 94-98, May.
  24. Abel, Jaison R. & Deitz, Richard & Su, Yaquin, 2014. "Are recent college graduates finding good jobs?," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 20.
  25. Nunley, John M. & Owens, Mark F. & Howard, R. Stephen, 2011. "The effects of information and competition on racial discrimination: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 670-679.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:abn:wpaper:auwp2014-06. 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: (Hyeongwoo Kim)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.