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Detecting Discrimination in Audit and Correspondence Studies

  • David Neumark

Audit studies testing for discrimination have been criticized because applicants from different groups may not appear identical to employers. Correspondence studies address this criticism by using fictitious paper applicants whose qualifications can be made identical across groups. However, Heckman and Siegelman (1993) show that group differences in the variance of unobservable determinants of productivity can still generate spurious evidence of discrimination in either direction. This paper shows how to recover an unbiased estimate of discrimination when the correspondence study includes variation in applicant characteristics that affect hiring. The method is applied to actual data and assessed using Monte Carlo methods.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16448.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as David Neumark, 2012. "Detecting Discrimination in Audit and Correspondence Studies," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(4), pages 1128-1157.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16448
Note: LS
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