Racial/Ethnic Perceptions from Hispanic Names: Selecting Names to Test for Discrimination

Socius, 3:1-11, 2017

28 Pages Posted: 30 May 2017 Last revised: 27 Oct 2017

See all articles by S. Michael Gaddis

S. Michael Gaddis

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Sociology; University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - California Center for Population Research

Date Written: October 26, 2017

Abstract

Researchers increasingly use correspondence audit studies to study racial/ethnic discrimination in employment, housing, and other domains. Although this method provides strong causal evidence of racial/ethnic discrimination, these claims depend on the signal being clearly conveyed through names. Few studies have pretested individual racial and ethnic perceptions of the names used to examine discrimination. I conduct a survey experiment that asks respondents to identify the race or ethnicity they associate with a series of names. I provide respondents with combinations of Hispanic and Anglo first and last names. Hispanic first names paired with Anglo last names are least likely to be recognized as Hispanic, while all versions of Hispanic first and last names are highly recognized (90% ). The results suggest that (1) researchers must use caution when trying to signal Hispanic ethnicity in experiments and (2) prior findings from correspondence audits may be biased from poor signals.

Keywords: Names, Audit Studies, Survey Experiments, Field Experiments, Discrimination

JEL Classification: C90, C91, C93, C18, J70, J71

Suggested Citation

Gaddis, S. Michael, Racial/Ethnic Perceptions from Hispanic Names: Selecting Names to Test for Discrimination (October 26, 2017). Socius, 3:1-11, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2975829 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2975829

S. Michael Gaddis (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Sociology ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - California Center for Population Research ( email )

337 Charles E Young Dr E
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

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