Lehmann, Jee-Yeon (2011): Job assignment and promotion under statistical discrimination: evidence from the early careers of lawyers.
Download (1433Kb) | Preview
Minorities continue to be severely underrepresented at the top levels of most occupations despite making dramatic gains in initial access to them. This fact is particularly striking in the legal profession where blacks are well represented in each associate class yet face significantly lower probabilities of making partner. To explain this divergence in the career paths of blacks and whites, I develop a dynamic model of statistical discrimination in which firms diversify their workforce by lowering the hiring standard for blacks. Despite such a diversity goal at hiring, task assignment and promotion decisions are not constrained by this policy. In this institutional setting, the model predicts that although blacks are more likely to be hired compared to observably similar whites, they are more likely to be placed in worse tasks and less likely to be promoted conditional on the same set of observables. However, conditional on task assignment, blacks and whites face similar promotion rates. I test the model's predictions using new data from the After the JD study -- a unique longitudinal survey tracking the professional lives of more than 4,000 lawyers. Compared to whites of similar credentials, blacks are much more likely to be hired into the best law firms. However, they are assigned to worse tasks and are less likely to be a partner. This black-white difference in promotion rates can be explained by quality differences in task assignments early in the associates' careers even controlling for measures of effort and career preferences. Results from this paper provide a unique explanation for the underrepresentation of minorities at the top of professional ladders by revealing how incompatible strategies in job assignment can reduce the number of minority promotions compared to the case without affirmative action.
|Item Type:||MPRA Paper|
|Original Title:||Job assignment and promotion under statistical discrimination: evidence from the early careers of lawyers|
|Keywords:||Discrimination; Job assignment; promotion; lawyers; statistical discrimination; inequality|
|Subjects:||J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J0 - General
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J7 - Labor Discrimination
|Depositing User:||Jee-Yeon K. Lehmann|
|Date Deposited:||16. Sep 2011 19:08|
|Last Modified:||15. Feb 2013 20:04|
Angrist, J.D. and J.S. Pischke (2009) Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist’s Companion: Princeton University Press.
Arrow, K.J. (1972) “Models of job discrimination,” Racial discrimination in economic life, pp. 83–102. Athey, S., C. Avery, and P. Zemsky (2000) “Mentoring and diversity,” American Economic Review, Vol. 90, No. 4, pp. 765–786.
Bjerk, D. (2008) “Glass Ceilings or Sticky Floors? Statistical Discrimination in a Dynamic Model of Hiring and Promotion*,” The Economic Journal, Vol. 118, No. 530, pp. 961–982.
Blau, F.D. and J. DeVaro (2007) “New evidence on gender differences in promotion rates: An empirical analysis of a sample of new hires,” Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Vol. 46, No. 3, pp. 511–550.
Carneiro, P., J. Heckman, and D. Masterov (2005) “Understanding the sources of ethnic and racial wage gaps and their implications for policy,” Handbook of Employment Discrimination Research, pp. 99–136.
Coate, S. and G.C. Loury (1993) “Will affirmative-action policies eliminate negative stereotypes?” The American Economic Review, pp. 1220–1240.
DeVaro, J., S. Ghosh, and C. Zoghi (2007) “Job Characteristics and Labor Market Discrimination in Promotions: New Theory and Empirical Evidence,” Cornell University Working Paper.
Dinovitzer, R., B.G. Garth, R. Sander, J. Sterling, and G.Z. Wilder (2004) “After the JD: First results of a national study of legal careers,” Overland Park, KS: The NALP Foundation and Chicago: American Bar Foundation.
Fang, H. and A. Moro (2010) “Theories of Statistical Discrimination and Affirmative Action: A Survey,” NBER Working Paper.
Fryer Jr, R.G. (2007) “Belief flipping in a dynamic model of statistical discrimination,” Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 91, No. 5-6, pp. 1151–1166. Ghosh, S. and M. Waldman (2010) “Standard promotion practices versus up-or-out contracts,” The RAND Journal of Economics, Vol. 41, No. 2, pp. 301–325.
Landers, R.M., J.B. Rebitzer, and L.J. Taylor (1996) “Rat race redux: Adverse selection in the determination of work hours in law firms,” The American Economic Review, Vol. 86, No. 3, pp. 329–348.
Lang, K. and J.K. Lehmann (2010) “Racial Discrimination in the Labor Market: Theory and Empirics,” Boston University Working Paper.
Lichter, D.T., D.K. McLaughlin, G. Kephart, and D.J. Landry (1992) “Race and the retreat from marriage: A shortage of marriageable men?,” American Sociological Review, Vol. 57, No. 6, pp. 781– 799.
McDowell, J.M., L.D. Singell Jr, and J.P. Ziliak (1999) “Cracks in the glass ceiling: gender and promotion in the economics profession,” American Economic Review, Vol. 89, No. 2, pp. 392–396.
Neal, D.A. and W.R. Johnson (1996) “The role of premarket factors in black-white wage differences,” Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 104, No. 5, pp. 869–895.
Phelps, E.S. (1972) “The statistical theory of racism and sexism,” The American Economic Review, Vol. 62, No. 4, pp. 659–661.
Rebitzer, J.B. and L.J. Taylor (1995) “Do labor markets provide enough short-hour jobs? An analysis of work hours and work incentives,” Economic Inquiry, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 257–273.
Rebitzer, J.B. and L.J. Taylor (2007) “When Knowledge Is an Asset: Explaining the Organizational Structure of Large Law Firms,” Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 25, No. 2.
Sander, R.H. (2005) “Racial Paradox of the Corporate Law Firm, The,” NCL Rev., Vol. 84, p. 1755. Slater, R.B. (1994) “The growing gender gap in Black higher education,” Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, pp. 52–59.
Winter-Ebmer, R. and J. Zweimuller (1997) “Unequal assignment and unequal promotion in job ladders,” Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 43–71.