Sociological Perspectives on Racial Discrimination
AbstractAs in economics, racial discrimination has long been a focus of research in sociology. Yet the disciplines traditionally have differed in how they approach the topic. While some studies in recent years show signs of cross-disciplinary influence, exposing more economists to sociological perspectives on racial discrimination would benefit both fields. We offer six propositions from the sociology of racial discrimination that we believe economists should note. We argue that independent of taste and statistical discrimination, economists should study institutional discrimination; that institutional discrimination can take at least two forms, organizational and legal; that in both forms the decisions of a contemporary actor to discriminate can be immaterial; that institutional discrimination is a vehicle through which past discrimination has contemporary consequences; that minor forms of everyday interpersonal discrimination can be highly consequential; and that whether actors perceive they have experienced discrimination deserves attention in its own right.
CitationSmall, Mario L., and Devah Pager. 2020. "Sociological Perspectives on Racial Discrimination." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 34 (2): 49-67. DOI: 10.1257/jep.34.2.49
- A12 Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
- J15 Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination