Measuring Discrimination

Devah Pager

in Discrimination in an Unequal World

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199732166
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866144 | DOI:
Measuring Discrimination

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This chapter talks about the dominant methods that have been used to study discrimination in the United States, including studies of perceptions, attitude surveys, statistical analyses, laboratory experiments, and field experiments. Despite its various complexities, field experiments remain the most effective approach to measuring discrimination in real-world settings. By interacting with real employers, and by simulating the process of actual job applicants or intermediaries, we can get as close as possible to the interactions that produce discrimination in contemporary labor markets. While no research method is without flaws, careful consideration of the range of methods available helps to match one's research question with the appropriate empirical strategy. Although the field experiment cannot address all relevant aspects of labor market disadvantage, it can provide strong and direct measures of discrimination at the point of hire, a powerful mechanism regulating the employment opportunity.

Keywords: racial discrimination; field experiments; perceptions; attitude surveys; statistical analyses

Chapter.  6625 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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