January 04, 2007

Discrimination in Action

This is rather stunning. Devah Pager and Bruce Western recently conducted an experiment in New York City in which they sent a bunch of black, white, and Latino male volunteers out with fabricated resumes to apply for various low-wage jobs. To mix things up, some of the volunteers had criminal records on their resumes, others didn't.

Well, they found that white applicants were more likely to get callbacks from employers than Latino applicants with comparables resumes, and Latinos were more likely to get callbacks than black applicants. Typical discrimination, one might say. Hold on, hold on. It turns out, though, that even white applicants with felony convictions are more likely to get callbacks than black applicants. Pager did a similar study a few years ago in Milwaukee and found the same thing: A white male with a felony conviction is more likely to get a callback than a black male with a clean record. (Black men with felony convictions are, of course, totally screwed and almost never get callbacks.)

(Both studies come via Rachel S. at Alas, a Blog.)
-- Brad Plumer 6:13 PM || ||