Discrimination Against Black and Hispanic Americans is Highest in Hiring and Housing Contexts: A Meta-Analysis of Correspondence Audits

37 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2022

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

Edvard Larsen

University of Oslo

Charles Crabtree

Dartmouth College

John Holbein

University of Virginia

Date Written: December 1, 2021

Abstract

To what extent does racial/ethnic discrimination in America differ across contexts? In this paper, we provide the largest and most comprehensive review of racial/ethnic discrimination research to date. We conducted a meta-analysis of 78 correspondence audits in the United States, representing over half a million applications, emails, and other forms of correspondence that occur in all aspects of modern society, including the hiring, housing, medical, public services, and education sectors. We find that racial/ethnic discrimination in the United States continues to be a large problem, but discrimination against racial/ethnic minorities simultaneously exhibits a substantial amount of contextual heterogeneity not recognized in previous discrimination research. Discrimination against Black Americans is most common in hiring, followed by the rental housing context. Discrimination against Hispanic Americans is highest in hiring, but discrimination in other contexts is considerably lower. Although discrimination occurs in education, medical, and public services contexts, it is far less common in these sectors. Altogether, our findings suggest that discrimination is more common in economic contexts that are more resource-intensive and have higher stakes, despite stronger legal protections against discrimination in those same contexts. Our work confirms that racial/ethnic discrimination in the United States continues to be a persistent and pervasive phenomenon that impacts many core parts of the lives of Black and Hispanic Americans and simultaneously reinforces and exacerbates existing inequalities.

Keywords: racial/ethnic discrimination, correspondence audit, field experiment, meta-analysis

JEL Classification: J15, J7, J71, I14 I24

Suggested Citation

Gaddis, S. Michael and Larsen, Edvard and Crabtree, Charles and Holbein, John, Discrimination Against Black and Hispanic Americans is Highest in Hiring and Housing Contexts: A Meta-Analysis of Correspondence Audits (December 1, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3975770 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3975770

S. Michael Gaddis (Contact Author)

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

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Box 951361
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University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - California Center for Population Research ( email )

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Edvard Larsen

University of Oslo ( email )

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Oslo, N-0317
Norway

Charles Crabtree

Dartmouth College ( email )

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United States

HOME PAGE: http://charlescrabtree.com

John Holbein

University of Virginia ( email )

111 Garrett Hall, University of Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA VA 22903
United States
4342432899 (Phone)
22903 (Fax)

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