Labor Market Conditions and Charges of Discrimination: Is There a Link?
AbstractIs there a relationship between labor market conditions and workplace discrimination? This
paper’s goal is to determine whether the degree of labor market tightness affects the frequency of
claims of discrimination based on race, sex, age, national origin, color, and disability. State level
panel data on enforcement and litigation actions from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission, along with disaggregated labor market statistics, allow us to assess the effects of
labor market conditions on discrimination against distinct groups, and how these effects vary
across states and over time. Our findings have implications for how macroeconomic policies
might be used to promote equal opportunity in the labor market.