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

Racial Discrimination In The Labor Market: Theory And Empirics

  • Kevin Lang


    (Boston University and NBER and IZA)

  • Jee-Yeon K. Lehmann


    (Department of Economics, University of Houston)

We review theories of race discrimination in the labor market. Taste-based models can generate wage and unemployment duration differentials when combined with either random or directed search even when strong prejudice is not widespread, but no existing model explains the unemployment rate differential. Models of statistical discrimination based on differential observability of productivity across races can explain the pattern and magnitudes of wage differentials but do not address employment and unemployment. At their current state of development, models of statistical discrimination based on rational stereotypes have little empirical content. It is plausible that models combining elements of the search models with statistical discrimination could fit the data. We suggest possible avenues to be pursued and comment briefly on the implication of existing theory for public policy.

To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

Paper provided by Boston University - Department of Economics in its series Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number WP2011-019.

in new window

Length: 72 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2011-019
Contact details of provider: Postal: 270 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215
Phone: 617-353-4389
Fax: 617-353-4449
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. Christopher J. Flinn & James J. Heckman, 1982. "Are Unemployment and Out of the Labor Force Behaviorally Distinct Labor Force States?," NBER Working Papers 0979, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. A Rosen, 1992. "An Equilibrium Search-Matching Model of Discrimination," CEP Discussion Papers dp0097, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Jonathan Levin, 2009. "The Dynamics of Collective Reputation," Discussion Papers 08-024, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  4. Bayer, Patrick & Ross, Stephen L., 2005. "Place of Work and Place of Residence: Informal Hiring Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," Working Papers 8, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  5. Dan Black & Natalia Kolesnikova & Seth Sanders & Lowell Taylor, 2013. "The role of location in evaluating racial wage disparity," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 1-18, December.
  6. Bowlus, Audra J & Eckstein, Zvi, 1998. "Discrimination and Skill Differences in an Equilibrium Search Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 1859, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Fryer, Roland, 2007. "Belief Flipping in a Dynamic Model of Statistical Discrimination," Scholarly Articles 2955768, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. van den Berg, Gerard J & van Ours, Jan C, 1996. "Unemployment Dynamics and Duration Dependence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 100-125, January.
  9. Samuel Bowles & Glenn C. Loury & Rajiv Sethi, 2014. "Group Inequality," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 129-152, 02.
  10. Kerwin Charles & Patrick Kline, 2002. "Relational Costs and the Production of Social Capital: Evidence from Carpooling," NBER Working Papers 9041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Masaru Sasaki, 1998. "An Equilibrium Search Model with Co-Worker Discrimination," Labor and Demography 9802001, EconWPA.
  12. Fryer Jr., Roland G. & Torelli, Paul, 2010. "An empirical analysis of 'acting white'," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(5-6), pages 380-396, June.
  13. Manolis Galenianos & Philipp Kircher, 2005. "Directed Search with Multiple Job Applications," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-022, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  14. Akerlof, George A, 1985. "Discriminatory, Status-based Wages among Tradition-oriented, Stochastically Trading Coconut Producers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 265-76, April.
  15. Dan Black & Amelia Haviland & Seth Sanders & Lowell Taylor, 2006. "Why Do Minority Men Earn Less? A Study of Wage Differentials among the Highly Educated," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 300-313, May.
  16. Derek Neal, 2002. "The Measured Black-White Wage Gap Among Women is Too Small," NBER Working Papers 9133, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Daniel Immergluck, 1996. "What employers want: Job prospects for less-educated workers," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 135-143, June.
  18. van den Berg, G. & van Ours, J.C., 1996. "Unemployment dynamics and duration dependence," Other publications TiSEM 4374742f-8d86-458d-9ab3-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  19. Kim, Young Chul & Loury, Glenn, 2009. "Group Reputation and the Dynamics of Statistical Discrimination," MPRA Paper 18765, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  20. Lehmann, Jee-Yeon, 2011. "Job assignment and promotion under statistical discrimination: evidence from the early careers of lawyers," MPRA Paper 33466, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  21. Shouyong Shi, 2009. "Directed Search for Equilibrium Wage-Tenure Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(2), pages 561-584, 03.
  22. Fabian Lange, 2007. "The Speed of Employer Learning," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 1-35.
  23. 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.
  24. David Austen-Smith & Ronald G. Fryer, 2005. "An Economic Analysis of 'Acting White'," Discussion Papers 1399, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  25. Peters, Michael, 2005. "Unobservable Heterogeneity in Directed Search," working papers peters-05-06-13-01-50-30, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 16 Oct 2009.
  26. 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.
  27. Patrick J. Bayer & Peter Arcidiacono & Aurel Hizmo, 2010. "Beyond Signaling and Human Capital: Education and the Revelation of Ability," Working Papers 10-51, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  28. Black, Dan A, 1995. "Discrimination in an Equilibrium Search Model," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 309-33, April.
  29. Joseph G. Altonji & Prashant Bharadwaj & Fabian Lange, 2012. "Changes in the Characteristics of American Youth: Implications for Adult Outcomes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(4), pages 783 - 828.
  30. Amitabh Chandra, 2000. "Labor-Market Dropouts and the Racial Wage Gap: 1940-1990," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 333-338, May.
  31. Collins, William J. & Margo, Robert A., 2000. "Residential segregation and socioeconomic outcomes: When did ghettos go bad?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 239-243, November.
  32. Stefano DellaVigna & M. Daniele Paserman, 2005. "Job Search and Impatience," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(3), pages 527-588, July.
  33. John List, 2004. "The nature and extent of discrimination in the marketplace: Evidence from the field," Natural Field Experiments 00299, The Field Experiments Website.
  34. David Card & Jesse Rothstein, 2005. "Racial Segregation and the Black-White Test Score Gap," Working Papers 93, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  35. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman & Dimitriy V. Masterov, 2003. "Labor Market Discrimination and Racial Differences in Premarket Factors," NBER Working Papers 10068, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  36. Kevin Lang, 2007. "Introduction to Poverty and Discrimination
    [Poverty and Discrimination]
    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
  37. Patrick Bayer & Stephen L. Ross & Giorgio Topa, 2005. "Place of Work and Place of Residence: Informal Hiring Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," Working Papers 927, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  38. David Neumark & Harry Holzer, 2000. "Assessing Affirmative Action," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 483-568, September.
  39. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 2, number 9780226041162.
  40. Giuliano, Laura & Levine, David I. & Leonard, Jonathan, 2006. "Manager Race and the Race of New Hires," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt2cb2q1h1, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  41. Michael A. Stoll & Steven Raphael & Harry J. Holzer, 2004. "Black job applicants and the hiring officer's race," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(2), pages 267-287, January.
  42. David Austen-Smith & Roland G. Fryer, 2005. "An Economic Analysis of "Acting White"," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(2), pages 551-583, May.
  43. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1979. "Labor Market Dynamics and Unemployemnt: A Reconsideration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 10(1), pages 13-72.
  44. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
  45. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-95, October.
  46. David Bjerk, 2008. "Glass Ceilings or Sticky Floors? Statistical Discrimination in a Dynamic Model of Hiring and Promotion," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(530), pages 961-982, 07.
  47. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
  48. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Jonathan Guryan, 2007. "Prejudice and The Economics of Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 13661, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  49. Roland G. Fryer & Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt, 2005. "Experience-Based Discrimination: Classroom Games," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(2), pages 160-170, April.
  50. David Bjerk, 2007. "The Differing Nature of Black-White Wage Inequality Across Occupational Sectors," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(2).
  51. Bruce A. Weinberg & Patricia B. Reagan & Jeffrey J. Yankow, 2004. "Do Neighborhoods Affect Hours Worked? Evidence from Longitudinal Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 891-924, October.
  52. William A. Darity & Patrick L. Mason, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Employment: Codes of Color, Codes of Gender," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 63-90, Spring.
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:bos:wpaper:wp2011-019. 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: (Gillian Gurish)

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.