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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Ludwig, Sandra / Schmitz, Hendrik

Ed. by Auriol, Emmanuelle / Barigozzi, Francesca / Brunner, Johann / Fleck, Robert / Mastrobuoni, Giovanni / Mendola, Mariapia / Requate, Till / de Vries, Frans / Wenzel, Tobias / Zulehner, Christine

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Volume 15, Issue 3


Volume 19 (2019)

Volume 6 (2006)

Volume 4 (2004)

Volume 2 (2002)

Volume 1 (2001)

Racial Discrimination in the Labor Market for Recent College Graduates: Evidence from a Field Experiment

John M. Nunley / Adam Pugh / Nicholas Romero / R. Alan Seals
Published Online: 2015-03-10 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bejeap-2014-0082


We present experimental evidence from a correspondence test of racial discrimination in the labor market for recent college graduates. We find strong evidence of differential treatment by race: black applicants receive approximately 14% fewer interview requests than their otherwise identical white counterparts. The racial gap in employment opportunities is larger when comparisons are made between job seekers with credentials that proxy for expected productivity and/or match quality. Moreover, the racial discrimination detected is driven by greater discrimination in jobs that require customer interaction. Various tests for the type of discrimination tend to support taste-based discrimination, but we are unable to rule out risk aversion on the part of employers as a possible explanation.

This article offers supplementary material which is provided at the end of the article.

Keywords: racial discrimination; employment; productivity; field experiments; correspondence studies

JEL: J23; J24; J71


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About the article

Published Online: 2015-03-10

Published in Print: 2015-07-01

Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, Volume 15, Issue 3, Pages 1093–1125, ISSN (Online) 1935-1682, ISSN (Print) 2194-6108, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bejeap-2014-0082.

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