Paper: "Are Emily and Greg more employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A field experiment on labor market discrimination"
We perform a field experiment to measure racial discrimination in the labor market. We respond
with fictitious resumes to help-wanted ads in Boston and Chicago newspapers. To manipulate
perception of race, each resume is assigned either a very African American sounding name or a very
White sounding name. The results show significant discrimination against African-American
names: White names receive 50 percent more callbacks for interviews. We also find that race affects
the benefits of a better resume. For White names, a higher quality resume elicits 30 percent more
callbacks whereas for African Americans, it elicits a far smaller increase. Applicants living in better
neighborhoods receive more callbacks but, interestingly, this effect does not differ by race. The
amount of discrimination is uniform across occupations and industries. Federal contractors and
employers who list “Equal Opportunity Employer” in their ad discriminate as much as other
employers. We find little evidence that our results are driven by employers inferring something
other than race, such as social class, from the names. These results suggest that racial discrimination
is still a prominent feature of the labor market.