The effect of job candidates' race on employers' job placement decisions was examined through an experiment in which white personnel officers were presented with a vignette describing a particular candidate, told that their company had employed that person, and asked what sort of position that person is likely to be hired in. The results suggest that white personnel officers tend to assign black male high school graduates to lower paying positions than those assigned to white male high school graduates. Similar patterns were observed for black female college graduates. However, these patterns of apparent bias in job placement were found to be offset to some degree in firms with strong affirmative action policies. These findings do not indicate whether a particular placement officer's racial bias reflects a personal distaste for blacks ("old fashioned prejudice") or what Lester Thurow has called "statistical discrimination" --using the color of the respondent as a source of information based on actual or putative correlations between race and job-related skills and attitudes. In either case, however, the job applicant is being responded to only as a member of a racial minority group. (KH)
For the complete document, see UD 024 388.
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Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, MD. Center for Social Organization of Schools.