Workplace Segregation in the United States: Race, Ethnicity, and Skill

US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies Paper No. CES-WP-07-02

Public Policy Institute of California Working Paper No. 2004.05

52 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2007

See all articles by Judith K. Hellerstein

Judith K. Hellerstein

University of Maryland - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

David Neumark

University of California, Irvine - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2007

Abstract

We study workplace segregation in the United States using a unique matched employer employee data set that we have created. We present measures of workplace segregation by education and language, and by race and ethnicity, and - since skill is often correlated with race and ethnicity we assess the role of education - and language-related skill differentials in generating workplace segregation by race and ethnicity. We define segregation based on the extent to which workers are more or less likely to be in workplaces with members of the same group, and we measure segregation as the observed percentage relative to maximum segregation. Our results indicate that there is considerable segregation by education and language in the workplace. Among whites, for example, observed segregation by education is 17% (of the maximum), and for Hispanics, observed segregation by language ability is 29%. Racial (blackwhite) segregation in the workplace is of a similar magnitude to education segregation (14%), and ethnic (Hispanic-white) segregation is somewhat higher (20%). Only a tiny portion (3%) of racial segregation in the workplace is driven by education differences between blacks and whites, but a substantial fraction of ethnic segregation in the workplace (32%) can be attributed to differences in language proficiency. Finally, additional evidence suggests that segregation by language likely reflects complementarity among workers speaking the same language.

Keywords: Segregation, skills, discrimination

JEL Classification: J15, J24, J71

Suggested Citation

Hellerstein, Judith K. and Neumark, David, Workplace Segregation in the United States: Race, Ethnicity, and Skill (January 2007). US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies Paper No. CES-WP-07-02; Public Policy Institute of California Working Paper No. 2004.05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=536982 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.536982

Judith K. Hellerstein

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States
301-405-3545 (Phone)
301-405-3542 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

David Neumark (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine - Department of Economics ( email )

3151 Social Science Plaza
Irvine, CA 92697-5100
United States
949-824-8496 (Phone)
949-824-2182 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.socsci.uci.edu/~dneumark/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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