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Utilising self-report data to measure racial discrimination in the labour market

journal contribution
posted on 2013-04-01, 00:00 authored by Amanuel EliasAmanuel Elias, Yin ParadiesYin Paradies
Although economists have developed a series of approaches to modelling the existence of labour market discrimination, rarely is this topic examined by analysing self-report survey data. After reviewing theories and empirical models of labour market discrimination, we examine self-reported experience of discrimination at different stages in the labour market, among three racial groups utilising U.S. data from the 2001-2003 National Survey of American Life. Our findings indicate that African Americans and Caribbean blacks consistently report more experience of discrimination in the labour market than their non-Hispanic white counterparts. At different stages of the labour market, including hiring, termination and promotion, these groups are more likely to report discrimination than non-Hispanic whites. After controlling for social desirability bias and several human capital and socio-demographic covariates, the results remain robust for African Americans. However, the findings for Caribbean blacks were no longer significant after adjusting for social desirability bias. Although self-report data is rarely utilised to assess racial discrimination in labour economics, our study confirms the utility of this approach as demonstrated in similar research from other disciplines. Our results indicate that after adjusting for relevant confounders self-report survey data is a viable approach to estimating racial discrimination in the labour market. Implications of the study and directions for future research are provided.



Australian journal of labour economics






5 - 41


Curtin University


Perth, W.A.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal