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Bias in the Legal Profession: Self-Assessed versus Statistical Measures of Discrimination

Author

Listed:
  • Heather Antecol

    (The Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, Claremont McKenna College; and Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA))

  • Deborah Cobb-Clark

    () (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne; and Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA))

  • Eric Helland

    (The Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, Claremont McKenna College)

Abstract

Legal cases are generally won or lost on the basis of statistical discrimination measures, but it is workers’ perceptions of discriminatory behavior that are important for understanding many labor-supply decisions. Workers who believe that they have been discriminated against are more likely to subsequently leave their employers and it is almost certainly workers' perceptions of discrimination that drive formal complaints to the EEOC. Yet the relationship between statistical and self-assessed measures of discrimination is far from obvious. We expand on the previous literature by using data from the After the JD (AJD) study to compare standard Blinder-Oaxaca measures of earnings discrimination to self-reported measures of (i) client discrimination; (ii) other work-related discrimination; and (iii) harassment. Overall, our results indicate that conventional measures of earnings discrimination are not closely linked to the racial and gender bias that new lawyers believe they have experienced on the job. Statistical earnings discrimination is only occasionally related to increases in self-assessed bias and when it is the effects are very small. Moreover, statistical earnings discrimination does not explain the disparity in self-assessed bias across gender and racial groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Heather Antecol & Deborah Cobb-Clark & Eric Helland, 2011. "Bias in the Legal Profession: Self-Assessed versus Statistical Measures of Discrimination," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2011n18, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2011n18
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    File URL: http://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/downloads/working_paper_series/wp2011n18.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Alan Duncan & Astghik Mavisakalyan & Yashar Taverdi, 2016. "Self-assessed versus statistical evidence of labour market discrimination," Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre Working Paper series WP1602, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School.
    2. Alan Duncan & Astghik Mavisakalyan & Yashar Tarverdi, 2016. "Self-assessed versus statistical evidence of labour market discrimination The case of indigenous Australians," WIDER Working Paper Series 070, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labour market discrimination; lawyers; gender and racial bias; wages;

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations

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