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American Economic Review: Vol. 93 No. 2 (May 2003)

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Racial Stigma: Toward a New Paradigm for Discrimination Theory

Article Citation

Loury, Glenn C. 2003. "Racial Stigma: Toward a New Paradigm for Discrimination Theory ." American Economic Review, 93(2): 334-337.

DOI: 10.1257/000282803321947308

Abstract

This essay examines interconnections between "race" and economic inequality in the United States, focusing on the case of African-Americans. I will argue that it is crucially important to distinguish between racial discrimination and racial stigma in the study of this problem. Racial discrimination has to do with how blacks are treated, while racial stigma is concerned with how black people are perceived. My view is that what I call reward bias (unfair treatment of persons in formal economic transactions based on racial identity) is now a less significant barrier to the full participation by African-Americans in U.S. society than is what I will call development bias (blocked access to resources critical for personal development but available only via non-market-mediated social transactions). By making these points in the specific cultural and historical context of the black experience in U.S. society, I hope to contribute to a deeper conceptualization of the worldwide problem of race and economic marginality.

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Loury, Glenn C.


American Economic Review


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