Sources of Labor Market Discrimination
Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM
- Chair: Marianne Bertrand, University of Chicago
The Dynamics of Discrimination: Theory and Evidence
AbstractWe model the dynamics of discrimination and show how its evolution can identify the underlying cause. We test these theoretical predictions in a field experiment on a large online platform where users post content that is evaluated by other users on the platform. We assign posts to accounts that exogenously vary by gender and history of evaluations. With no prior evaluations, women face significant discrimination, while following a sequence of positive evaluations, the direction of discrimination reverses: posts by women are favored over those by men. According to our theoretical predictions, this dynamic reversal implies discrimination driven by biased beliefs.
Racial Bias in Bail Decisions
AbstractThis paper develops a new test for identifying racial bias in the context of bail decisions – a high-stakes setting with large disparities between white and black defendants. We motivate our analysis using Becker’s model of racial bias, which predicts that rates of pre-trial misconduct will be identical for marginal white and marginal black defendants if bail judges are racially unbiased. In contrast, marginal white defendants will have higher rates of misconduct than marginal black defendants if bail judges are racially biased, whether that bias is driven by racial animus, inaccurate racial stereotypes, or any other form of bias. To test the model, we develop a new estimator that uses the release tendencies of quasi-randomly assigned bail judges to identify the relevant race-specific misconduct rates. Estimates from Miami and Philadelphia show that bail judges are racially biased against black defendants, with substantially more racial bias among both inexperienced and part-time judges. We find suggestive evidence that this racial bias is driven by bail judges relying on inaccurate stereotypes that exaggerate the relative danger of releasing black defendants.
A Woman’s Place: Sexism and Women’s Labor Market Outcomes
AbstractWe examine the extent to which cross-market differences in women’s relative labor market outcomes are determined by differences across markets in sexism – defined as views about the appropriate role women should play in society. Using data from the GSS to measure sexism, we show that selection-corrected gender wage gaps and relative employment rates are significantly related to the degree of sexist views held by the median male, but not with male sexism at the 10th or 90th percentile. Consistent with a standard labor supply model in which sexism lowers women’s offered wage, we find lower relative employment of women in more sexist markets is concentrated among women who would have worked few hours in sexism’s absence. Finally, we show that the patterns described for male sexism are not apparent for female responses to the GSS questions. The results are robust to a variety of extensions, including alternative strategies for correcting for gender skill differences, and selection. We argue that these results are consistent with a taste-based model of discrimination (Becker (1957)), and are especially striking in light of results from Charles and Guryan (2008) who find that racial wage differences are related to the left tail of the racial prejudice distribution, rather than the median or right tail - exactly as the prejudice model predicts for a group whose prevalence in the labor market much less than that for women. The results suggest that sexism has important implications for the workings of labor markets for men and women.
University of Chicago
- J7 - Labor Discrimination