February 10, 2008
Resource on Black/White disparities & New Paper on Discrimination in Low Wage Jobs
Conference Papers posted online
The Chicago Workshop on Black-White Inequality has posted a large number of papers presented at their earlier meetings, an advantage of which is that these papers are both sorted into panel topics and cover a significant range of the issues/areas of study relevant when looking at the persistence of black/white inequality. To get to the papers, follow the links for the different session dates and then click on the topic/session that interests you and then the paper title (most of the links still work, but a few are down).
Devah Pager, Bruce Western, and Bart Bonikowski have a new paper of interest that uses testers (similar to testers used in housing discrimination studies) and investigates low wage jobs. The paper is "Race at Work: A Field Experiment of Discrimination in Low-Wage Labor Markets."
ABSTRACT: Racial progress over the past four decades has lead some researchers and policy makers to proclaim the problem of discrimination solved. But the debates about discrimination have been obscured by a lack of reliable evidence. In this study, we adopt an experimental audit approach to formally test patterns of discrimination in the low-wage labor market of New York City. By using matched teams of individuals to apply for real entry-level jobs, it becomes possible to directly measure the extent to which race/ethnicity, in the absence of other disqualifying characteristics, reduce employment opportunities among equally qualified applicants. We find that whites and Latinos are systemically favored over black job seekers. Indeed, the effect of discrimination is so large that white job seekers just released from prison do no worse than blacks without criminal records. Relying on both quantitative and qualitative data from our testers' experiences, this study presents striking evidence of the continuing significance of race in shaping the employment opportunities of low-wage workers.
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