Correspondence Audit Studies are Necessary to Understand Discrimination
5 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 1, 2021
Audit studies are a type of field experiment in which researchers use individuals or correspondence (e.g., emails, job applications) to accomplish real tasks and ”audit” decision-makers’ responses to specific characteristics. Audits are extraordinarily valuable because they produce better measures of discrimination than surveys or interviews. They provide the bulk of internally valid evidence that discrimination is a persistent and pervasive phenomenon. While we can and should do better in designing and conducting audits, we cannot discard them completely. In doing so, we would set aside our best tool for examining “what,” “when,” “where,” and even “why” discrimination occurs. Substantially limiting audits would be shortsighted at a time when many forms of discrimination persist across the world.
Keywords: audit, audit studies, correspondence audit, discrimination
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