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

40 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2011

See all articles by Heather Antecol

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

Eric Helland

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

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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.

Keywords: labor market discrimination, lawyers, gender and racial bias, wages

JEL Classification: J71, J15, J16, J44

Suggested Citation

Antecol, Heather and Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. and Helland, Eric A., Bias in the Legal Profession: Self-Assessed Versus Statistical Measures of Discrimination. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5831. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1882850

Heather Antecol (Contact Author)

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

Eric A. Helland

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

500 E. Ninth St.
Claremont, CA 91711-6420
United States
909-607-7275 (Phone)
909-621-8243 (Fax)

RAND ( email )

1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA
United States

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