White male issues

Kevin Lewis

December 19, 2019

Teachers’ Bias Against the Mathematical Ability of Female, Black, and Hispanic Students
Yasemin Copur-Gencturk et al.
Educational Researcher, forthcoming


Researchers have long endeavored to understand whether teachers’ evaluations of their students’ mathematical ability or performance are accurate or whether their evaluations reveal implicit biases. To disentangle these factors, in a randomized controlled study (N = 390), we examined teachers’ evaluations of 18 mathematical solutions to which gender- and race-specific names had been randomly assigned. Teachers displayed no detectable bias when assessing the correctness of students’ solutions; however, when assessing students’ mathematical ability, biases against Black, Hispanic, and female students were revealed, with biases largest against Black and Hispanic girls. Specifically, non-White teachers’ estimations of students’ mathematical ability favored White students (both boys and girls) over students of color, whereas (primarily female) White teachers’ estimations of students’ mathematical ability favored boys over girls. Results indicate that teachers are not free of bias, and that teachers from marginalized groups may be susceptible to bias that favors stereotype-advantaged groups.

The Old Boys' Club: Schmoozing and the Gender Gap
Zoë Cullen & Ricardo Perez-Truglia
NBER Working Paper, December 2019


The old boys’ club refers to the alleged advantage that male employees have over their female counterparts in interacting with powerful men. For example, male employees may schmooze with their managers in ways that female employees cannot. We study this phenomenon using data from a large financial institution. We use an event study analysis of manager rotation to estimate the causal effect of managers’ gender on their employees’ career progression. We find that when male employees are assigned to male managers, they are promoted faster in the following years than they would have been if they were assigned to female managers. Female employees, on the contrary, have the same career progression regardless of the manager’s gender. These differences in career progression cannot be explained by differences in effort or output. This male-to-male advantage can explain a third of the gender gap in promotions. Moreover, we provide suggestive evidence that these manager effects are due to socialization between male employees and male managers. We show that these manager effects are present only if the employee works in close proximity to the manager. We use survey data to show that, after transitioning to a male manager, male employees spend more time with their managers. Finally, we study a shock to socialization within males, based on the anecdotal evidence that employees who smoke tend to spend more time together. We find that when male employees who smoke switch to male managers who smoke, they spend more of their breaks with their managers and are promoted faster in the following years. Moreover, the effects of these smoking manager switches are similar in timing and magnitude to the effects of the gender manager switches.

Shaking Things Up: Unintended Consequences of Firm Acquisitions on Inequality and Diversity
Letian Zhang
Harvard Working Paper, September 2019


Although millions of workers every year experience ownership change as their firms get acquired, it remains unclear how such an event shapes inequality in the workplace. This study addresses this question using a difference-in-differences design on a nationally representative sample covering 37,343 acquisition events from 1971 to 2015. Contrary to the common assumption, while acquisitions increase skill-based inequality, they strongly reduce both racial and gender inequality. On the one hand, they widen the skill-based gap, leading to fewer jobs for middle managers, back-office workers, and blue-collar workers while adding more jobs for educated professionals. But on the other hand, they shake up existing arrangements and open up opportunities for minorities and women to move into managerial ranks and new occupations, especially in those establishments where white men have previously occupied the most central positions. This study suggests that although mergers and acquisitions favor the more skilled workers, they also produce an unintended consequence of shaking things up and making room for more racial and gender equality in the workplace.

Recruit to Reject? Harvard and African American Applicants
Peter Arcidiacono, Josh Kinsler & Tyler Ransom
NBER Working Paper, November 2019


Over the past 20 years, elite colleges in the US have seen dramatic increases in applications. We provide context for part of this trend using detailed data on Harvard University that was unsealed as part of the SFFA v. Harvard lawsuit. We show that Harvard encourages applications from many students who effectively have no chance of being admitted, and that this is particularly true for African Americans. African American applications soared beginning with the Class of 2009, with the increase driven by those with lower SAT scores. Yet there was little change in the share of admits who were African American. We show that this change in applicant behavior resulted in substantial convergence in the overall admissions rates across races yet no change in the large cross-race differences in admissions rates for high-SAT applicants.

Affirmative Action, Major Choice, and Long-Run Impacts
Zachary Bleemer
University of California Working Paper, October 2019


Estimation of the impact of race-based affirmative action (AA) on the medium- and long-run outcomes of underrepresented minority (URM) university applicants has been frustrated by limited data availability. This study presents a highly-detailed novel database of University of California (UC) applications in the years before and after the end of its AA admissions policy, linked to national educational records and a California employment database. Using a difference-in-difference design to compare URM and non-URM freshman applicants' outcomes two years before and after UC's affirmative action policies ended in 1998, I identify substantial and persistent educational and labor market deterioration after 1998 among URM applicants: each of UC's 10,000-per-year URM freshman applicants' likelihood of earning a Bachelor's degree within six years declined by 1.3 percentage points, their likelihood of earning any graduate degree declined 1.4 p.p., and their likelihood of earning at least $100,000 annual between ages 30 and 37 declined by about 1 p.p. per year. These results suggest that affirmative action's end decreased the number of age 30-to-34 URM Californians earning over $100,000 by at least 2.5 percent. Turning to targeted students' major choice, I link the application records to five universities' detailed course transcript data and find no evidence – despite considerable statistical power – that more-selective university enrollment under AA lowered URM students' performance or persistence in core physical, biological, or mathematical science courses. These findings suggest that state prohibitions on university affirmative action policies have modestly exacerbated American socioeconomic inequities.

Exploring Bias in Student Evaluations: Gender, Race, and Ethnicity
Kerry Chávez & Kristina Mitchell
PS: Political Science & Politics, forthcoming


Research continues to accumulate showing that in instructor evaluations students are biased against women. This article extends these analyses by examining the dynamics between evaluations and gender and race/ethnicity. In a quasi-experimental design, faculty members teaching identical online courses recorded welcome videos that were presented to students at the course onset, constituting the sole exposure to perceived gender and race/ethnicity. This enables exploration of whether and to what degree the instructors’ characteristics influenced student evaluations, even after holding all other course factors constant. Findings show that instructors who are female and persons of color receive lower scores on ordinal student evaluations than those who are white males. Overall, we add further evidence to a growing literature calling for student evaluations of teaching (SETs) reform and extend it to encompass the effects on racial/ethnic minorities in addition to women.

Estimating Effects of Affirmative Action in Policing: A Replication and Extension
Maryah Garner, Anna Harvey & Hunter Johnson
International Review of Law and Economics, forthcoming


Many police departments in the United States have experienced externally-imposed affirmative action plans designed to increase the shares of nonwhite and female police officers. This paper examines whether externally-imposed affirmative action plans have impacted the rates of reported offenses and/or offenses cleared by arrest, seeking to replicate and extend Lott (2000) and McCrary (2007). Using a series of modern econometric strategies, including difference-in-differences decomposition and generalized synthetic controls, we do not find a significant effect of court-imposed affirmative action plans on the rates of reported offenses or reported offenses cleared by arrest, a finding consistent with McCrary (2007). We also consider whether unlitigated agencies change their practices due to the threat of litigation, but, like McCrary (2007), are unable to identify causal evidence of such threat effects. We suggest that, in the spirit of Miller and Segal (2018), future research seek to estimate the potentially racially heterogeneous treatment effects of race-based affirmative action plans on public safety outcomes.

Equilibrium Grade Inflation with Implications for Female Interest in STEM Majors
Thomas Ahn et al.
NBER Working Paper, December 2019


Substantial earnings differences exist across majors with the majors that pay well also having lower grades and higher workloads. We show that the harsher grading policies in STEM courses disproportionately affect women. To show this, we estimate a model of student demand courses and optimal effort choices of students conditional on the chosen courses. Instructor grading policies are treated as equilibrium objects that in part depend on student demand for courses. Restrictions on grading policies that equalize average grades across classes helps to close the STEM gender gap as well as increasing overall enrollment in STEM classes.

Race and Networks in the Job Search Process
David Pedulla & Devah Pager
American Sociological Review, December 2019, Pages 983-1012


Racial disparities persist throughout the employment process, with African Americans experiencing significant barriers compared to whites. This article advances the understanding of racial labor market stratification by bringing new theoretical insights and original data to bear on the ways social networks shape racial disparities in employment opportunities. We develop and articulate two pathways through which networks may perpetuate racial inequality in the labor market: network access and network returns. In the first case, African American job seekers may receive fewer job leads through their social networks than white job seekers, limiting their access to employment opportunities. In the second case, black and white job seekers may utilize their social networks at similar rates, but their networks may differ in effectiveness. Our data, with detailed information about both job applications and job offers, provide the unique ability to adjudicate between these processes. We find evidence that black and white job seekers utilize their networks at similar rates, but network-based methods are less likely to lead to job offers for African Americans. We then theoretically develop and empirically test two mechanisms that may explain these differential returns: network placement and network mobilization. We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for scholarship on racial stratification and social networks in the job search process.

An Experiment in Hiring Discrimination via Online Social Networks
Alessandro Acquisti & Christina Fong
Management Science, forthcoming


We investigate whether personal information posted by job candidates on social media sites is sought and used by prospective U.S. employers. We create profiles for job candidates on popular social networks, manipulating information protected under U.S. laws, and submit job applications on their behalf to more than 4,000 employers. We estimate employer search activity and bias in interview callbacks. We find evidence of employers searching online for the candidates. At the national level, we find no significant difference in the callback rates for a Muslim versus a Christian candidate, or for a gay versus a straight candidate. However, employers in Republican areas exhibit significant bias against the Muslim candidate relative to the Christian candidate. This bias is significantly larger than the bias in Democratic areas. The results on callback bias are robust to using state- and county-level data, to controlling for firm, job, and geographical characteristics, to including additional interaction effects in the empirical specification, and to several estimation strategies. The results suggest that the online disclosure of certain personal traits can influence the hiring decisions of some U.S. employers, but the likelihood of hiring discrimination via online searches varies across employers.

Coordinated Work Schedules and the Gender Wage Gap
German Cubas, Chinhui Juhn & Pedro Silos
NBER Working Paper, December 2019


Using U.S. time diary data we construct occupation-level measures of coordinated work schedules based on the concentration of hours worked during peak hours of the day. A higher degree of coordination is associated with higher wages but also a larger gender wage gap. In the data women with children allocate more time to household care and are penalized by missing work during peak hours. An equilibrium model with these key elements generates a gender wage gap of 6.6 percent or approximately 30 percent of the wage gap observed among married men and women with children. If the need for coordination is equalized across occupations and set to a relatively low value (i.e. Health care support), the gender gap would fall by more than half to 2.7 percent.

Gender differences in how scientists present the importance of their research: Observational study
Marc Lerchenmueller, Olav Sorenson & Anupam Jena
British Medical Journal, December 2019

Data sources: Titles and abstracts from 101 720 clinical research articles and approximately 6.2 million general life science articles indexed in PubMed and published between 2002 and 2017.

Main outcome measures: Analysis of article titles and abstracts to determine whether men and women differ in how positively they present their research through use of terms such as “novel” or “excellent.” For a set of 25 positive terms, we estimated the relative probability of positive framing as a function of the gender composition of the first and last authors, adjusting for scientific journal, year of publication, journal impact, and scientific field.

Results: Articles in which both the first and last author were women used at least one of the 25 positive terms in 10.9% of titles or abstracts versus 12.2% for articles involving a male first or last author, corresponding to a 12.3% relative difference (95% CI 5.7% to 18.9%). Gender differences in positive presentation were greatest in high impact clinical journals (impact factor >10), in which women were 21.4% less likely to present research positively. Across all clinical journals, positive presentation was associated with 9.4% (6.6% to 12.2%) higher subsequent citations, and in high impact clinical journals 13.0% (9.5% to 16.5%) higher citations. Results were similar when broadened to general life science articles published in journals indexed by PubMed, suggesting that gender differences in positive word use generalize to broader samples.

Intersections on the Class Escalator: Gender, Race, and Occupational Segregation in Paid Care Work
Melissa Hodges
Sociological Forum, forthcoming


As U.S. manufacturing and production industries have declined, the growth of the care sector has increasingly become an important source of jobs for workers without a college degree. Often requiring some form of postsecondary credentialing, many care occupations can provide better wages, job stability, and possible upward mobility for less educated workers. However, employment patterns in paid care work are both gendered and racialized: women and workers of color are overrepresented in care occupations with fewer entry barriers, benefits, and lower pay. Although these patterns are well documented, the mechanisms producing them are less well understood. Using event history analysis and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79), this study evaluates the explanatory power of neoclassical economic, status attainment, and social closure theories of occupational segregation for black women’s and men’s greater hazard or “risk” of entering care occupations, relative to white workers. Net of individual and closure mechanisms, significant residual effects suggest labor market discrimination remains a primary explanation for the over‐representation of black workers in less credentialed care jobs with fewer benefits.


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