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Racial Disparities in Job Finding and Offered Wages

Listed author(s):
  • Roland G. Fryer, Jr
  • Devah Pager
  • Jörg L. Spenkuch

The extent to which discrimination can explain racial wage gaps is one of the most divisive subjects in the social sciences. Using a newly available dataset, this paper develops a simple empirical test which, under plausible conditions, provides a lower bound on the extent of discrimination in the labor market. Taken at face value, our estimates imply that differential treatment accounts for at least one third of the black-white wage gap. We argue that the patterns in our data are consistent with a search-matching model in which employers statistically discriminate on the basis of race when hiring unemployed workers, but learn about their marginal product over time. However, we cannot rule out other forms of discrimination.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17462.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17462.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
Publication status: published as Roland G. Fryer , Jr. & Devah Pager & J�rg L. Spenkuch, 2013. "Racial Disparities in Job Finding and Offered Wages," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(3), pages 633 - 689.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17462
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