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Kevin Lewis

October 12, 2017

Multicolored Blindfolds: How Organizational Multiculturalism Can Conceal Racial Discrimination and Delegitimize Racial Discrimination Claims
Seval Gündemir & Adam Galinsky
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming


Past studies have found that multicultural approaches to diversity can reduce prejudice and stimulate positive intergroup relations. The current research explored a possible negative side effect of multiculturalism: whether organizational diversity structures geared toward multiculturalism can conceal racial discrimination and delegitimize racial discrimination claims. Three studies found that, even when objective information was indicative of discrimination, both Whites and racial minorities perceived organizations which had diversity policies emphasizing multiculturalism as more fair toward minorities. This perception of (false) fairness led individuals to perceive less racial discrimination and to view claims of racial discrimination against that organization as less legitimate. Furthermore, we found that organizational multiculturalism and externally granted diversity awards both produced a (false) fairness effect. The results suggest an irony of multicultural diversity structures: They can create a false fairness effect that conceals and delegitimizes discrimination.

The Partial Deinstitutionalization of Affirmative Action in U.S. Higher Education, 1988 to 2014
Daniel Hirschman & Ellen Berrey
Sociological Science, August 2017


Since the 1990s, affirmative action opponents have targeted colleges’ and universities’ race-conscious admissions policies and secured bans on the practice in eight states. Although scholarly and media attention has focused on these dynamics at a handful of elite institutions, little is known about race-conscious admissions across the broader field of higher education. We provide a descriptive, quantitative account of how different types of colleges and universities responded to this political context. Through analysis of almost 1,000 selective colleges and universities, we find a dramatic shift in stated organizational policy starting in the mid-1990s. In 1994, 60 percent of selective institutions publicly declared that they considered race in undergraduate admissions; by 2014, just 35 percent did. This decline varied depending on status (competitiveness) and sector (public or private). Race-conscious admissions remain the stated policy of almost all of the most elite public and private institutions. The retreat from race-conscious admissions occurs largely among schools lower in the status hierarchy: very competitive public institutions and competitive public and private institutions. These patterns are not explained by implementation of state-level bans. We suggest that the anti–affirmative action movement had a diffuse impact whose effects varied across different strata of American higher education.

Racial Discrimination in the U.S. Labor Market: Employment and Wage Differentials by Skill
Daniel Borowczyk-Martins, Jake Bradley & Linas Tarasonis
Labour Economics, forthcoming


In the U.S. the average black worker has a lower employment rate and earns a lower wage compared to his white counterpart. Lang and Lehmann (2012) argue that black-white wage and employment gaps are smaller for high-skill workers. We show that a model combining employer taste-based discrimination, search frictions and skill complementarities can replicate these regularities, and estimate it using data from the U.S. manufacturing sector. We find that discrimination is quantitatively important to understand differences in wages and job finding rates across workers with low education levels, whereas skill differences are the main driver of those differences among workers with high education levels.

Beliefs about Racial Discrimination: Representative Evidence
Ingar Haaland & Christopher Roth
University of Oxford Working Paper, September 2017


This paper provides representative evidence on people's beliefs about racial discrimination in the United States and to what extent these beliefs drive support for policies aiming to combat racial discrimination. We first elicit incentivized beliefs about the callback rate of resumes with black-sounding names compared to white-sounding names. We find large heterogeneity in beliefs about the extent of racial discrimination in the labor market. A large fraction of our respondents overestimate the true extent of racial labor market discrimination, and this is especially pronounced among Democrats and college graduates. To introduce exogenous variation in beliefs about racial discrimination, we then provide a random subset of our respondents with the true callback rate from an audit study that tested for racial labor market discrimination. We show that this information treatment shifts our respondents' beliefs about racial discrimination in the housing market and increases their donations to an NGO lobbying for blacks in the labor market. However, using data from over 5800 respondents, we find a muted response in terms of attitudes towards several policies aimed at lowering racial discrimination, such as assistance and affirmative action programs for blacks and name-blind screening of resumes. Overall, the results suggest that people's beliefs about racial discrimination are not a causal determinant of their support for policies aiming to reduce racial discrimination in society.

Output-Based Performance Pay, Performance-Support Bias, and the Racial Pay Gap within a Large Retail Stock Brokerage
Janice Fanning Madden & Alexander Vekker
Industrial Relations, October 2017, Pages 662–687


We measure sources of racial inequality in stockbroker pay. Pay differences arise from sales differences. We measure the extent to which sales differences are due to performance-support bias, whereby African American brokers receive weaker firm supports, or to forces outside the firm, including client access, selection, and consumer discrimination. Data on firm policies are matched to sales results. Data on self-generation of accounts measure access to wealthy clients. Sales generated from accounts with sales histories show racial differences in sales arising from selection or consumer discrimination.

Bifurcated Effects of Place-of-Origin Diversity on Individual and Team Performance: Evidence from Ten Seasons of German Soccer
Avner Ben-Ner, John-Gabriel Licht & Jin Park
Industrial Relations, October 2017, Pages 555–604


How does diversity affect performance? We develop a theoretical framework in which diversity of prevention employees (protecting the organization from harm) and of promotion employees (advancing positive outcomes) have different effects on individual and organizational performance. We use data for twenty-eight soccer teams and 1723 players that played in 6120 games during ten seasons and find that diversity of defensive (prevention) players has a positive effect on player and team performance whereas the opposite holds for offensive (promotion) players. Joint tenure of offensive players tends to amplify these effects.

Racial diversity and academic test scores in public elementary schools
Don Mar
Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming


This article examines the effect of racial diversity on academic achievement using panel data on San Francisco’s public elementary schools from 2003 to 2007. Theories argue that the relationship between racial diversity and academic achievement may be positive or negative. Few studies have examined the effect of racial diversity in US elementary schools. Fixed effects models are used to examine the relationship between racial diversity and academic performance in elementary schools. Controls for student differences and teaching staff differences are added as part of the education production function literature. Results show that racial diversity has little effect on academic achievement scores.

Understanding the role of schools in the Asian-white gap: A seasonal comparison approach
Aimee Yoon & Joseph Merry
Race Ethnicity and Education, forthcoming


Asian Americans are the most highly educated racial group in the United States and are commonly heralded as the model minority for their high academic success. Nevertheless, previous research suggests that Asian Americans may face certain disadvantages in school settings. For example, Asian Americans’ academic advantage over non-Hispanic white students diminishes between kindergarten entry and the next several years of schooling. This study provides a closer examination of the educational progress of Asian American students compared to white students through a seasonal comparison approach. Using the Northwest Evaluation Association, we analyze reading and math scores for over 130,000 Asian American and white students in grades K-7 in approximately 675 public schools across the US. We find that Asian Americans have higher academic achievement than white students in general, but that these advantages are maintained primarily through faster rates of learning during the summer months. When school is in session, the Asian advantage either remains unchanged or shrinks, consistent with the view that some school processes undermine the educational progress of Asian American students relative to white students.

A Preliminary Report on the Relationship Between Microaggressions Against Black People and Racism Among White College Students
Jonathan Kanter et al.
Race and Social Problems, forthcoming


Previous efforts to understand microaggressions have surveyed stigmatized group members’ experiences of receiving microaggressions. This report presents the first attempt to measure self-reported likelihood of delivering microaggressions rather than receiving microaggressions and to explore the association between the likelihood of delivering microaggressions and racial prejudice. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 33 black and 118 non-Hispanic white undergraduate students at a large public Southern/Midwest university. Black students reported the degree to which a series of statements would be experienced as microaggressive. White students reported their likelihood of delivering those statements and completed measures of racial prejudice. White students’ self-reported likelihood of engaging in microaggressive acts was significantly related to all measures of racial prejudice. The single item “A lot of minorities are too sensitive” was the strongest predictor of negative feelings toward black people. Results offer preliminary support that the delivery of microaggressions by white students is not simply innocuous behavior and may be indicative of broad, complex, and negative racial attitudes and explicit underlying hostility and negative feelings toward black students.

Was It Race or Merit?: The Cognitive Costs of Observing the Attributionally Ambiguous Hiring of a Racial Minority
Kathy Espino-Pérez, Brenda Major & Brenna Malta
Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, forthcoming

Method: 163 Latino/a participants who varied in the perception that Whites are externally motivated to behave positively toward minorities (Perceived External Motivation Scale; PEMS) observed a Latino candidate selected over 2 White candidates by a White Human Resources officer. The selected candidate was or was not the most qualified and a diversity rationale was or was not provided. Participants subsequently performed a test of cognitive interference.

Results: When a less-qualified minority candidate was selected, the presence (vs. absence) of a diversity rationale increased cognitive interference among low PEMS participants, but decreased cognitive interference among high PEMS participants. Results suggest that a diversity rationale made the selection of a less qualified minority more ambiguous for low PEMS but less ambiguous for high PEMS participants.

Replicated Evidence of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Disability Identification in U.S. Schools
Paul Morgan et al.
Educational Researcher, August 2017, Pages 305-322


Federal legislation and policy increasingly seek to address minority overrepresentation in special education due to concerns that U.S. schools are misidentifying children as disabled based on their race or ethnicity. Yet whether and to what extent this is occurring is currently in dispute. We estimated racial disparities in disability identification using very large (e.g., Ns = 183,570, 165,540, and 48,560) student-level, nationally representative data sets and multivariate logistic regression including school fixed effects models along with tabulations of percentage with a disability among racial or ethnic groups across academic achievement deciles. Among children who were otherwise similar in their academic achievement, poverty exposure, gender, and English language learner status, racial or ethnic minority children were consistently less likely than White children to be identified as having disabilities. Minority children’s disability underidentification was evident (a) in elementary, middle, and high school; (b) across racially diverse groups and specific disability conditions; and (c) throughout the achievement distribution. Contrary to federal regulatory and policy efforts, minority children have been less likely than otherwise similarly achieving White children to receive special education services in the United States since at least 2003.

Are Law Degrees As Valuable to Minorities?
Frank McIntyre & Michael Simkovic
International Review of Law and Economics, forthcoming


We estimate the increase in earnings from a law degree relative to a bachelor’s degree for graduates of different race/ethnic groups. Law earnings premiums are higher for whites than for minorities (excluding individuals raised outside the U.S.). The median annual law earnings premium is approximately $41,000 for whites, $34,000 for Asians, $33,000 for blacks, and $28,000 for Hispanics. Law earnings premiums for whites, blacks and Hispanics have trended upward and appear to be gradually converging. Approximately 90 percent of law graduates are white compared to approximately 82 percent of bachelor’s degree holders.

Telomere Length and Procedural Justice Predict Stress Reactivity Responses to Unfair Outcomes in African Americans
Todd Lucas et al.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, December 2017, Pages 104-109


This experiment demonstrates that chromosomal telomere length (TL) moderates response to injustice among African Americans. Based on worldview verification theory − an emerging psychosocial framework for understanding stress − we predicted that acute stress responses would be most pronounced when individual-level expectancies for justice were discordant with justice experiences. Healthy African Americans (N = 118; 30% male; M age = 31.63 years) provided dried blood spot samples that were assayed for TL, and completed a social-evaluative stressor task during which high versus low levels of distributive (outcome) and procedural (decision process) justice were simultaneously manipulated. African Americans with longer telomeres appeared more resilient (in emotional and neuroendocrine response–higher DHEAs:cortisol) to receiving an unfair outcome when a fair decision process was used, whereas African Americans with shorter telomeres appeared more resilient when an unfair decision process was used. TL may indicate personal histories of adversity and associated stress-related expectancies that influence responses to injustice.


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