View attached explanation and answer. Let me know if you have any questions.Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 68, No. 2, 2012, pp. 221–237Identifying Discrimination at Work: The Useof Field ExperimentsDevah Pager∗Princeton UniversityBruce WesternHarvard UniversityAntidiscrimination law offers protection to workers who have been treated unfairlyon the basis of their race, gender, religion, or national origin. In order for theseprotections to be invoked, however, potential plaintiffs must be aware of andable to document discriminatory treatment. Given the subtlety of contemporaryforms of discrimination, it is often difficult to identify discrimination when ithas taken place. The methodology of field experiments offers one approach tomeasuring and detecting hiring discrimination, providing direct observation ofdiscrimination in real-world settings. In this article, we discuss the findings oftwo recent field experiments measuring racial discrimination in low wage labormarkets. This research provides several relevant findings for researchers andthose interested in civil rights enforcement: (1) it produces estimates of the rateof discrimination at the point of hire; (2) it yields evidence about the interactionsassociated with discrimination (many of which reveal the subtlety with whichcontemporary discrimination is practiced); and (3) it provides a vehicle for bothresearch on and enforcement of antidiscrimination law.Antidiscrimination law offers protection to workers who have been treatedunfairly on the basis of their race, gender, religion, or national origin. In order forthese protections to be invoked, however, potential plaintiffs must be aware of andable to document discriminatory treatment. In the case of unequal pay or wrongful termination, employees are often able to gather sufficient evidence based oninformation about coworkers or through interactions with the employer to identify∗ Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Devah Pager, Department ofSociology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544 [e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org].This research was supported by generous grants from NIH (K01HD53694) and NSF (CAREER0547810).221C2012 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues222Pager and Westernand document unfair treatment. In the case of hiring discrimination, by contrast,applicants have very little information with which to assess the legitimacy of employers’ decision-making. With little or no information about the qualifications ofother applicants, the relevant needs of the employer or requirements of the job, applicants who may have been unfairly dismissed on the basis of their race or genderare often left unaware or unable to take action (see also Bendick & Nunes, 2012).Indeed, trends in the composition of antidiscrimination enforcement showthat, in stark contrast to the composition of claims filed in the 1970s, claims todayare far more likely to emphasize wrongful termination or on-the-job discriminationthan to target instances of discrimination at the point of hire. In the mid-1960scharges of discrimination in hiring outnumbered charges of wrongful terminationby 50%; by the mid-1980s this ratio had reversed by more than 6 to 1 (Donohue &Siegelman, 1991, p. 1015). This changing pattern of claims could reflect a changein the distribution of discrimination, indicating a reduction in discrimination at thepoint of hire relative to increases (relative or absolute) in wage discrimination orwrongful termination. The bulk of evidence, by contrast, suggests that declines inclaims of hiring discrimination result from changing standards of legal evidenceand the difficulties facing plaintiffs in acquiring the necessary information topursue a successful claim (Nielsen & Nelson, 2005). In fact, changing patterns ofenforcement may have the perverse effect of increasing the relative importanceof discrimination at the point of hire. Declining enforcement of discrimination atthe point of hire lowers the risk to employers who discriminate at this stage; thesimultaneous increase in the rate of claims for wrongful termination increases therisks associated with firing minority workers (see Donohue & Siegelman, 1991,p. 1024; Posner, 1987, p. 519). Thus, despite the fact that claims of employmentdiscrimination at any stage are rare, their relative distribution implies far lessvulnerability for employers over decisions made at the initial-hiring stage. It maybe the case, then, that even if overall levels of racial discrimination have declined,the relative importance of hiring discrimination (compared to discrimination atlater stages) may be increasing in importance.Like applicants, researchers face similar difficulties in identifying discrimination in labor markets. Social psychological studies demonstrate the persistenceof stereotypes and biases and their effects on conscious and unconscious decisionmaking, but lab-based studies often have limited generalizability to real-worldoutcomes (Levitt & List, 2007) Survey-based analyses more typical of researchin sociology and economics can identify race or gender gaps in employment orwages, but residual estimates from statistical models leave open the possibility ofomitted variables that may inflate estimates of discrimination (see, for example,the debate between Cancio et al., 1996 and Farkas & Vicknair, 1996).Direct measures of hiring discrimination are few and far between. Particularly in the contemporary United States where acts of discrimination are likely tobe subtle and covert, it is extremely difficult to measure discrimination directly.Discrimination Field Experiments223Fortunately, the methodology of field experiments offers one approach to the studyof hiring discrimination which allows researchers to directly observe discrimination in real-world settings. In this article, we discuss the findings of two recentfield experiments measuring racial discrimination in low wage labor markets.Complementing Bendick and Egan (2012)—which offers a review of the broaderpotential of field experiments—this article focuses on the use of field experimentsto reveal both gross-hiring inequities and extremely subtle processes of bias indecision-making. Providing both quantitative evidence of hiring discriminationand qualitative evidence of bias in the hiring process, field experiments representa powerful tool for researchers and those interested in civil rights enforcement.In the following discussion, we illustrate three desirable features of the field experiment: (1) it produces estimates of the rate of discrimination at the point ofhire; (2) it yields evidence about the interactions associated with discrimination(many of which reveal the subtlety with which contemporary discrimination ispracticed); and (3) it provides a vehicle for both research on and enforcement ofantidiscrimination law.Field Experiments for Measuring DiscriminationThe basic design of an employment audit involves sending matched pairs ofindividuals (called testers) to apply for real job openings in order to see whetheremployers respond differently to applicants on the basis of selected characteristics.The appeal of the audit methodology lies in its ability to combine experimentalmethods with real-life contexts. This combination allows for greater generalizability than a lab experiment, and a better grasp of the causal mechanisms thanwhat we can normally obtain from observational or correlational data. Indeed, forthose with an interest in studying discrimination in real-world settings, the auditmethodology provides an ideal tool.The audit approach has been applied to numerous settings, including mortgage applications, negotiations at a car dealership, housing searches, and hailinga taxi (Ayres & Siegelman, 1995; Bendick et al., 1994; Cross et al., 1990; Massey& Lundy, 2001; Neumark, 1996; Ridley et al., 1989; Turner et al., 1991; Turner& Skidmore, 1999; Yinger, 1995). In the employment context, researchers havestudied hiring discrimination by presenting employers with equivalent applicantswho differ only by their race or ethnicity, either via resumes (known as “correspondence studies”) or through in-person applicants (“in-person audit studies”).Marian Betrand and Sendhill Mullainathan (2004), for example, prepared two setsof matched resumes reflecting applicant pools of two skill levels. Using raciallydistinctive names to signal the race of applicants, the researchers mailed out resumes to more than 1,300 employers in Chicago and Boston, targeting job ads forsales, administrative support, and clerical and customer-services positions. Theresults of their study indicate that White-sounding names were 50% more likely224Pager and Westernto elicit positive responses from employers relative to equally qualified applicantswith “Black” names (9.7% vs. 6.5%). Moreover, applicants with White namesreceived a significant payoff to additional qualifications, while those with Blacknames did not. The racial gap among job applicants was thus higher among themore highly skilled applicant pairs than among those with fewer qualifications.The primary advantage of the correspondence-test approach is that it requiresno actual job applicants (only fictitious paper applicants). This is desirable for bothmethodological and practical reasons. Methodologically, the use of fictitious paperapplicants allows researchers to create carefully matched applicant pairs withoutneeding to accommodate the complexities of real people. The researcher thus hasfar more control over the precise content of “treatment” and “control” conditions.Practically, the reliance on paper applicants is also desirable in terms of thelogistical ease with which the application process can be carried out. Rather thancoordinating job visits by real people (creating opportunities for applicants to getlost, to contact the employer under differing circumstances), the correspondencetest approach simply requires that resumes be sent out at specified intervals.Additionally, the small cost of postage or fax charges is trivial relative to the costinvolved in hiring individuals to pose as job applicants.At the same time, while correspondence tests do have many attractive features,there are also certain limitations of this design that have led some researchers toprefer the in-person audit approach. First, because correspondence tests rely onpaper applications only, all relevant target information must be conveyed withoutthe visual cues of in-person contact. This can pose complications for certain signals. The correspondence study discussed above, for example, used names like“Jamal” and “Lakisha” to signal African Americans. While these names are reliably associated with their intended race groups, some critics have argued that themore distinctive African American names are also associated with lower socioeconomic status, thus confounding the effects of race and class. Indeed, mother’seducation is a significant (negative) predictor of a child having a distinctivelyAfrican American name (Fryer & Levitt, 2004). Directly assessing these connotations/associations is thus an important first step in developing the materialsnecessary for a strong test of discrimination.In addition to signaling complexities, the correspondence-test method is alsosomewhat limited with …
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