Discrimination and Economic Mobility

Research Report

Discrimination and Economic Mobility

April 3, 2008

Abstract

Although many researchers have documented lower levels of upward mobility amongst black families, it is difficult to disentangle the effects of discrimination from differences in (sometimes unobservable) characteristics that also contribute to variation in employment, income, health, housing, and wealth outcomes across groups. As a consequence, findings regarding the presence or absence of discrimination tend to be controversial. This review pulls together several strands of research on the subject, including the statistical analysis of survey data, audit studies comparing market outcomes for similarly qualified individuals who differ along racial lines, and public opinion polling data on discrimination. (Review 1 of 11.)

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