Bias in the Legal Profession: Self-Assessed versus Statistical Measures of Discrimination

38 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2011

See all articles by Eric Helland

Eric Helland

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance; RAND

Heather Antecol

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Deborah A. Cobb-Clark

School of Economics, University of Sydney; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 4 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 29, 2011

Abstract

Legal cases are generally won or lost on the basis of statistical discrimination measures, but it is workers’ perceptions of discriminatory behavior that are important for understanding many labor-supply decisions. Workers who believe that they have been discriminated against are more likely to subsequently leave their employers and it is almost certainly workers’ perceptions of discrimination that drive formal complaints to the EEOC. Yet the relationship between statistical and self-assessed measures of discrimination is far from obvious. We expand on the previous literature by using data from the After the JD (AJD) study to compare standard Blinder-Oaxaca measures of earnings discrimination to self-reported measures of (i) client discrimination; (ii) other work-related discrimination; and (iii) harassment. Overall, our results indicate that conventional measures of earnings discrimination are not closely linked to the racial and gender bias that new lawyers believe they have experience on the job. Statistical earnings discrimination is only occasionally related to increases in self-assessed bias and when it is the effects are very small. Moreover, statistical earnings discrimination does not explain the disparity in self-assessed bias across gender and racial groups.

Suggested Citation

Helland, Eric A. and Antecol, Heather and Cobb-Clark, Deborah A., Bias in the Legal Profession: Self-Assessed versus Statistical Measures of Discrimination (June 29, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1880174 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1880174

Eric A. Helland (Contact Author)

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance ( email )

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Heather Antecol

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance ( email )

500 E. Ninth Street
Claremont, CA 91711
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Deborah A. Cobb-Clark

School of Economics, University of Sydney ( email )

606 Social Sciences Bldg. (A02)
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
61435061387 (Phone)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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