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Anti-Black Hiring Discrimination Remains As Bad As It Was 28 Years Ago: Study

By Stephen Gossett in News on Sep 20, 2017 7:44PM

Getty Images / Photo: George Marks

Employers continue to discriminate against black applicants as much as they did in 1989, according to a recent study conducted by researchers from Northwestern University and other institutions.

Researchers sought out to identify "all existing field experiments of hiring discrimination" for the study. They used résumé audits and in-person audits in their research. For résumé audits, résumés with "distinct racial names" were submitted to employers against résumés with "racially dissimilar" names, but which had matching levels of experience, education and expertise. The in-person audits used essentially the same rubric, except were conducted face-to-face.

The data produced 24 studies, with 30 estimates of discrimination against African Americans and Latinos dating back to 1989. Altogether there were 54,318 applications submitted for 25,517 positions. The results? "On average, white applicants receive 36 percent more callbacks than equally qualified African Americans." The gap proved narrower for Latinos compared to whites, but still vast. White names who submitted applications got 24 percent more callbacks than Latinos, researchers found.

Just as troublesome is the fact that that anti-black discrimination remained steady between 1989 and 2015. The "evidence rules out all but a slow decline in discrimination——with the most likely estimate being the point estimate, which indicates no decline in discrimination at all," researchers wrote.

“In all models, we see little evidence of a reduction in hiring discrimination against African Americans over time,” they added.

New York magazine points out (via Slate) that as the discrimination has held constant, the racial wealth gap has grown to "a wealth chasm" between 1983 and 2013.

The hiring-discrimination study was conducted by researchers from Northwester, Harvard University and the Institute for Social Research in Norway. You can find it here.