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Experimental Research on Labor Market Discrimination

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  • David Neumark

Abstract

Understanding whether labor market discrimination explains inferior labor market outcomes for many groups has drawn the attention of labor economists for decades – at least since the publication of Gary Becker’s The Economics of Discrimination in 1957. The decades of research on discrimination in labor markets began with a regression-based “decomposition” approach, asking whether raw wage or earnings differences between groups – which might constitute prima facie evidence of discrimination – were in fact attributable to other productivity-related factors. Subsequent research – responding in large part to limitations of the regression-based approach – moved on to other approaches, such as using firm-level data to estimate both marginal productivity and wage differentials. In recent years, however, there has been substantial growth in experimental research on labor market discrimination – although the earliest experiments were done decades ago. Some experimental research on labor market discrimination takes place in the lab. But far more of it is done in the field, which makes this particular area of experimental research unique relative to the explosion of experimental economic research more generally. This paper surveys the full range of experimental literature on labor market discrimination, places it in the context of the broader research literature on labor market discrimination, discusses the experimental literature from many different perspectives (empirical, theoretical, and policy), and reviews both what this literature has taught us thus far, and what remains to be done.

Suggested Citation

  • David Neumark, 2016. "Experimental Research on Labor Market Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 22022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22022
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    1. Experimental Research on Labor Market Discrimination
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2016-03-29 19:02:29

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    Cited by:

    1. David Neumark & Judith Rich, 2016. "Do Field Experiments on Labor and Housing Markets Overstate Discrimination? A Re-examination of the Evidence," NBER Working Papers 22278, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Piopiunik, Marc & Schwerdt, Guido & Simon, Lisa & Woessmann, Ludger, 2018. "Skills, Signals, and Employability: An Experimental Investigation," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 63, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    3. Carlsson, Magnus & Eriksson, Stefan, 2017. "The effect of age and gender on labor demand – evidence from a field experiment," Working Paper Series 2017:8, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    4. Chen, Daniel L. & Sethi, Jasmin, 2016. "Insiders, Outsiders, and Involuntary Unemployment: Sexual Harrassment Exacerbates Gender Inequality," IAST Working Papers 16-44, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST).
    5. Artavia-Mora, Luis & Bedi, Arjun S. & Rieger, Matthias, 2018. "Help, Prejudice and Headscarves," IZA Discussion Papers 11460, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law

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