Using Resume Correspondence Experiments to Pinpoint Labor Market Discrimination

Awarded Scholars:
Christopher R. Walters, University of California, Berkeley
Patrick M. Kline, University of California, Berkeley
Project Date:
Nov 2018
Award Amount:
$50,000

U.S. employment law prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, race, or sex. However, studies have found evidence of illegal discrimination by randomly assigning names that signify race or other protected characteristics to fictitious resumes submitted to actual job vacancies. Several of these experiments reveal substantially lower callback rates for names associated with minority groups. Economists Christopher Walters and Patrick Kline will leverage data from resume correspondence experiments to study employer discrimination against minority groups, variation in discrimination across employers, and methods for efficiently identifying employers engaged in discrimination. They will also develop a dynamic resume audit procedure that pinpoints specific instances of illegal employment discrimination at minimum cost.

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