The Law of Implicit Bias

41 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2006  

Cass R. Sunstein

Harvard Law School; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Christine Jolls

Yale Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Abstract

Considerable attention has been given to the Implicit Association Test (IAT), which finds that most people have an implicit and unconscious bias against members of traditionally disadvantaged groups. Implicit bias poses a special challenge for antidiscrimination law because it suggests the possibility that people are treating others differently even when they are unaware that they are doing so. Some aspects of current law operate, whether intentionally or not, as controls on implicit bias; it is possible to imagine other efforts in that vein. An underlying suggestion is that implicit bias might be controlled through a general strategy of debiasing through law.

Suggested Citation

Sunstein, Cass R. and Jolls, Christine, The Law of Implicit Bias. California Law Review, Forthcoming; Harvard Law and Economics Discussion Paper No. 552; U Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 289; U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 124. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=897553

Cass R. Sunstein (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts Ave
Areeda Hall 225
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2291 (Phone)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Christine Jolls

Yale Law School ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06520
United States
203.432.1958 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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