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
Date Written: December 1, 2021
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: Suggested Citation