Equal Opportunity

Kevin Lewis

September 28, 2011

The persuasive "power" of stigma?

Michael Norton et al.
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, forthcoming

We predicted that able-bodied individuals and White Americans would have a difficult time saying no to persuasive appeals offered by disabled individuals and Black Americans, due to their desire to make such interactions proceed smoothly. In two experiments, we show that members of stigmatized groups have a peculiar kind of persuasive "power" in face-to-face interactions with non-stigmatized individuals. In Experiment 1, wheelchair-bound confederates were more effective in publicly soliciting donations to a range of charities than confederates seated in a regular chair. In Experiment 2, Whites changed their private attitudes more following face-to-face appeals from Black than White confederates, an effect mediated by their increased efforts to appear agreeable by nodding and expressing agreement. This difference was eliminated when impression management concerns were minimized - when participants viewed the appeals on video.


Is tolerance good or bad for growth?

Niclas Berggren & Mikael Elinder
Public Choice, forthcoming

We investigate how tolerance, as measured by attitudes toward different types of neighbors, affects economic growth in a sample of 54 countries. Unlike previous studies, by Richard Florida and others, we find that tolerance toward homosexuals is negatively related to growth. For tolerance toward people of a different race, we do not find robust results, but the sign of the estimated coefficients is positive, suggesting that inclusion of people irrespective of race makes good use of productive capacity. We propose mechanisms to explain these divergent findings, which clarify why different kinds of tolerance may be of different economic importance.


Interpreting and reacting to feedback in stereotype-relevant performance domains

Monica Biernat & Kelly Danaher
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Feedback on task performance is often phrased in subjective language (e.g., "not bad!"), but how do recipients understand or translate that feedback into a clear, objective, performance metric? We suggest that when feedback is provided in a stereotype-relevant domain, translation is made with reference to stereotyped expectations for one's group. In Study 1, women and men were exposed to negative subjective feedback about their performance on a leadership task; in Study 2, Black and White participants were provided subjective negative feedback, or no feedback, on an academic writing task. Women relative to men, and Black students relative to White students, translated their feedback to indicate objectively worse performance. Furthermore, this translation mediated a drop in the importance placed on the domain among women and Blacks. This research extends the literature on gender- and race-based reactions to feedback by noting the importance of the immediate interpretation of the feedback received.


The Effects of Coworker Heterogeneity on Firm-Level Output: Assessing the Impacts of Cultural and Language Diversity in the National Hockey League

Leo Kahane, Neil Longley & Robert Simmons
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

The paper uses data from the National Hockey League (NHL) to consider the potential gains to firms from employing culturally-diverse work teams. It finds that the presence of foreign workers does increase firm-level performance - NHL teams that employed a higher proportion of European players performed better. However, the results also indicate that teams perform better when their European players come from the same country, rather than being spread across many European countries - when teams have players from a wide array of European countries, integration costs associated with language and cultural differences may start to override any gains from diversity.


Cycles of Wage Discrimination

Jeff Biddle & Daniel Hamermesh
NBER Working Paper, August 2011

Using CPS data from 1979-2009 we examine how cyclical downturns and industry-specific demand shocks affect wage differentials between white non-Hispanic males and women, Hispanics and African-Americans. Women's and Hispanics' relative earnings are harmed by negative shocks, while the earnings disadvantage of African-Americans may drop with negative shocks. Negative shocks also appear to increase the earnings disadvantage of bad-looking workers. A theory of job search suggests two opposite-signed mechanisms that affect these wage differentials. It suggests greater absolute effects among job-movers, which is verified using the longitudinal component of the CPS.


Race, Ethnicity, and NIH Research Awards

Donna Ginther et al.
Science, 19 August 2011, Pages 1015-1019

We investigated the association between a U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 applicant's self-identified race or ethnicity and the probability of receiving an award by using data from the NIH IMPAC II grant database, the Thomson Reuters Web of Science, and other sources. Although proposals with strong priority scores were equally likely to be funded regardless of race, we find that Asians are 4 percentage points and black or African-American applicants are 13 percentage points less likely to receive NIH investigator-initiated research funding compared with whites. After controlling for the applicant's educational background, country of origin, training, previous research awards, publication record, and employer characteristics, we find that black applicants remain 10 percentage points less likely than whites to be awarded NIH research funding. Our results suggest some leverage points for policy intervention.


Is the Customer Always Right? The Potential for Racial Bias in Customer Evaluations of Employee Performance

Michael Lynn & Michael Sturman
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, September 2011, Pages 2312-2324

With the encouragement of marketing scholars, many companies are tying employee incentives to customer ratings of satisfaction, service quality, or employee performance. One potential drawback to these practices is that customers' evaluations of employees - and, therefore, any associated rewards - may be biased by employee race. This possibility was examined in a restaurant setting. We found that customers rated the promptness and attentiveness of same race servers more favorably than different race servers, but there were no differences for assessments of server friendliness or appearance. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.


Does Temporary Affirmative Action Produce Persistent Effects? A Study of Black and Female Employment in Law Enforcement

Amalia Miller & Carmit Segal
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

This paper exploits variation in the timing and outcomes of employment discrimination lawsuits against US law enforcement agencies to estimate the cumulative and persistent employment effects of temporary externally-imposed affirmative action (AA). We find AA increased black employment at all ranks by between 4.5 and 6.2 percentage points, relative to national trends. We also find no erosion of these employment gains in the fifteen years following AA termination, although black employment growth was significantly lower in departments after AA ended than in departments whose plans continued. For women, in contrast, we only find marginal employment gains at lower ranks.


Gender, Top Management Compensation Gap, and Company Performance: Tournament versus Behavioral Theory

Joao Paulo Torre Vieito
Corporate Governance, forthcoming

Research Question/Issue: This study is among the first to investigate the impact of gender on the relationship between the compensation gap of the CEO and Vice-Presidents on company performance, testing if companies managed by a female CEO or a male CEO follow tournament or behavioral theory. Tournament theory suggests that a large compensation gap between CEO and company Vice-Presidents (VPs) leads to higher company performance; behavioral theory states that higher performance may be achieved with a small compensation gap between CEO and VPs. Additionally the study also investigates if companies managed by a female CEO perform better, or not, than those managed by a male CEO, and if the factors that explain the compensation gap between CEO and VPs in these two groups of companies are the same, or not. Data for the investigation emanated from the USA during the period 1992 to 2004.

Research Findings/Insights: The results reflect something quite new in the area - on average, companies managed by a female CEO perform better, and have a smaller compensation gap between the CEO and VPs than companies managed by a male CEO. In companies managed by a female CEO, a smaller difference in the total compensation gap between CEO and Vice-Presidents leads, on average, to higher company performance, however, when the CEO is a male, a higher compensation gap is required to obtain higher company performance. The results provide empirical support that the behavioral theory is predominant in companies managed by a female whereas tournament theory is predominant in companies managed by a male.


Are Judicial Performance Evaluations Fair to Women and Minorities? A Cautionary Tale from Clark County, Nevada

Rebecca Gill, Sylvia Lazos & Mallory Waters
Law & Society Review, September 2011, Pages 731-759

Because voters rely on judicial performance evaluations when casting their ballots, policymakers should work diligently to compile valid, reliable, and unbiased information about our sitting judges. Although some claim that judicial performance evaluations are fair, the systematic research needed to establish such a proposition has not been done. By the use of attorney judicial performance survey data from Clark County, Nevada, this analysis shows that objective measures of judicial performance cannot explain away differences in scores based on race and sex. Minority judges and female judges score consistently and significantly lower than do their white and male counterparts, all other things being equal. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that judicial performance evaluation surveys may carry with them unexamined and unconscious gender/race biases. Future research must compare judicial performance evaluation structure, content, and execution across states in order to identify those evaluation mechanisms least susceptible to unconscious gender and race bias.


Stereotypical Inferences as Mediators of Age Discrimination: The Role of Competence and Warmth

Franciska Krings, Sabine Sczesny & Annette Kluge
British Journal of Management, June 2011, Pages 187-201

Drawing on theories of stereotype content and role congruity, this research investigated the role of stereotypes for employment discrimination against older candidates. Study 1 investigated the content of stereotypes about older workers, focusing on warmth and competence as the two core dimensions in social judgement. As predicted, older workers were perceived as less competent but warmer than younger workers. Studies 2 and 3 investigated how these stereotypes interact with job requirements to predict age bias in an experimental setting. Further, they tested if warmth- and competence-related stereotypical inferences mediate the relation between candidate age and selection bias. Results showed that age bias was robust. Older candidates were discriminated against, even if the job primarily required warmth-related qualities, and independently of evaluators' own age or professional experience in human resources. Moreover, age bias was mediated by competence-related stereotypical inferences. Age bias was also mediated by inferences related to warmth but those inferences were opposite to the high-warmth older worker stereotype identified in Study 1. Implications of the findings for theoretical approaches to age discrimination and for organizational practice designed to combat age discrimination are discussed.


Selective Incivility as Modern Discrimination in Organizations: Evidence and Impact

Lilia Cortina et al.
Journal of Management, forthcoming

This collection of studies tested aspects of Cortina's theory of selective incivility as a "modern" manifestation of sexism and racism in the workplace and also tested an extension of that theory to ageism. Survey data came from employees in three organizations: a city government (N = 369), a law enforcement agency (N = 653), and the U.S. military (N = 15,497). According to analyses of simple mediation, target gender and race (but not age) affected vulnerability to uncivil treatment on the job, which in turn predicted intent to leave that job. Evidence of moderated mediation also emerged, with target gender and race interacting to predict uncivil experiences, such that women of color reported the worst treatment. The article concludes with implications for interventions to promote civility and nondiscrimination in organizations.


Gender Discrimination in Job Ads: Theory and Evidence

Peter Kuhn & Kailing Shen
NBER Working Paper, September 2011

We study firms' advertised gender preferences in a population of ads on a Chinese internet job board, and interpret these patterns using a simple employer search model. The model allows us to distinguish firms' underlying gender preferences from firms' propensities to restrict their search to their preferred gender. The model also predicts that higher job skill requirements should reduce the tendency to gender-target a job ad; this is strongly confirmed in our data, and suggests that rising skill demands may be a potent deterrent to explicit discrimination of the type we document here. We also find that firms' underlying gender preferences are highly job-specific, with many firms requesting men for some jobs and women for others, and with one third of the variation in gender preferences within firm*occupation cells.


Racial Disparities in Access to Mortgage Credit: Does Governance Matter?

Colleen Casey, Davita Silfen Glasberg & Angie Beeman
Social Science Quarterly, September 2011, Pages 782-806

Objectives: This article examines the effect of community organizing on the likelihood that minority borrowers pursue home mortgage credit from regulated lenders.

Methods: Governance perspectives suggest that community organizations exert significant influence on policy outcomes. We use logistic regression with interaction terms to test the effect of community organizing on the lending outcomes of minority borrowers. We use a matched control sample of cities, drawing on 2004 loan data from two midwestern cities similar in racial and economic composition but with different histories of organizing around the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

Results: We find differential effects based on an applicant's race or ethnicity. Overall, African-American applicants are less likely to pursue mortgage credit for home ownership from regulated lenders than their white, non-Hispanic counterparts. However, African Americans seeking mortgage credit in a city with a history of CRA organizing are more likely to apply to regulated lenders than their racial counterparts in a city without CRA organizing. However, while organizing reduces the disparities between white and African-American applicants, a gap still remains.

Conclusion: African-American borrowers living in cities with a history of community organizing around CRA appear more likely to pursue mortgage credit from traditional, regulated lenders, suggesting that governance matters.


Association of Unconscious Race and Social Class Bias With Vignette-Based Clinical Assessments by Medical Students

Adil Haider et al.
Journal of the American Medical Association, 7 September 2011, Pages 942-951

Context: Studies involving physicians suggest that unconscious bias may be related to clinical decision making and may predict poor patient-physician interaction. The presence of unconscious race and social class bias and its association with clinical assessments or decision making among medical students is unknown.

Objective: To estimate unconscious race and social class bias among first-year medical students and investigate its relationship with assessments made during clinical vignettes.

Design, Setting, and Participants: A secure Web-based survey was administered to 211 medical students entering classes at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, in August 2009 and August 2010. The survey included the Implicit Association Test (IAT) to assess unconscious preferences, direct questions regarding students' explicit race and social class preferences, and 8 clinical assessment vignettes focused on pain assessment, informed consent, patient reliability, and patient trust. Adjusting for student demographics, multiple logistic regression was used to determine whether responses to the vignettes were associated with unconscious race or social class preferences.

Main Outcome Measures: Association of scores on an established IAT for race and a novel IAT for social class with vignette responses.

Results: Among the 202 students who completed the survey, IAT responses were consistent with an implicit preference toward white persons among 140 students (69%, 95% CI, 61%-75%). Responses were consistent with a preference toward those in the upper class among 174 students (86%, 95% CI, 80%-90%). Assessments generally did not vary by patient race or occupation, and multivariable analyses for all vignettes found no significant relationship between implicit biases and clinical assessments. Regression coefficient for the association between pain assessment and race IAT scores was -0.49 (95% CI, -1.00 to 0.03) and for social class, the coefficient was -0.04 (95% CI, -0.50 to 0.41). Adjusted odds ratios for other vignettes ranged from 0.69 to 3.03 per unit change in IAT score, but none were statistically significant. Analysis stratified by vignette patient race or class status yielded similarly negative results. Tests for interactions between patient race or class status and student IAT D scores in predicting clinical assessments were not statistically significant.

Conclusions: The majority of first-year medical students at a single school had IAT scores consistent with implicit preference for white persons and possibly for those in the upper class. However, overall vignette-based clinical assessments were not associated with patient race or occupation, and no association existed between implicit preferences and the assessments.


Mexican-American and Caucasian university men's experience of sexual harassment: A preliminary report

Lisa Kearney & Aaron Rochlen
Psychology of Men & Masculinity, forthcoming

Harassment complaints filed by men have increased over the last decade (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2009), yet research addressing this topic has been underrepresented in the literature. The current study aimed to provide preliminary information about college men's experience of harassment. Mexican-American and Caucasian male students completed measures of harassing behaviors, perceptions of harasser power, and harassment attitudes. Overall reported experiences of harassing behaviors were higher than previously published reports. Further, Caucasian students reported experiencing greater rates of harassment than Mexican Americans, while Mexican Americans reported greater tolerance of harassment. Both groups attributed little power to their offenders. Findings are discussed within the context of cultural and gender factors and preliminary implications for men on university campuses.


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