Racial Disparities in Job Finding and Offered Wages

72 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2011  

Roland G. Fryer Jr.

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); American Bar Foundation; University of Chicago

Devah Pager

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Jörg L. Spenkuch

Northwestern University - Department of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences (MEDS)

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Date Written: September 1, 2011

Abstract

The extent to which discrimination can explain racial wage gaps is one of the most divisive subjects in the social sciences. Using a newly available dataset, this paper develops a simple empirical test which, under plausible conditions, provides a lower bound on the extent of discrimination in the labor market. Taken at face value, our estimates imply that differential treatment accounts for at least one third of the black-white wage gap. We argue that the patterns in our data are consistent with a search-matching model in which employers statistically discriminate on the basis of race when hiring unemployed workers, but learn about their marginal product over time. However, we cannot rule out other forms of discrimination.

Keywords: discrimination, wage gaps, race

JEL Classification: J71, J01, J15

Suggested Citation

Fryer, Roland G. and Pager, Devah and Spenkuch, Jörg L., Racial Disparities in Job Finding and Offered Wages (September 1, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1934590 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1934590

Roland G. Fryer Jr. (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

American Bar Foundation

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Devah Pager

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Jörg L. Spenkuch

Northwestern University - Department of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences (MEDS) ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

HOME PAGE: http://kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/spenkuch/

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