Skin tones

Kevin Lewis

October 10, 2019

One Run Leads to Another: Minority Incumbents and the Emergence of Lower Ticket Minority Candidates
Bernard Fraga, Eric Gonzalez Juenke & Paru Shah
Journal of Politics, forthcoming

The primary determinant of minority office holding is the racial/ethnic composition of the legislative district. While an older literature focused on white resistance to minority representatives, more recent work focuses on the increased supply of minority candidates in heavily-minority districts. Using comprehensive data on the race/ethnicity of state legislative candidates nationwide in 2012 and 2014, we find that minority candidates still emerge at lower rates than whites after accounting for district composition. Leveraging detailed information about the overlap between congressional and state legislative districts, we then demonstrate that the victories of candidates of color for Congress reduce the co-ethnic/racial demographic thresholds for state legislative candidacy, and that the same pattern holds for white incumbents and state legislative candidacies. Indeed, once accounting for both the race of congressional incumbents and the racial/ethnic composition of state legislative districts, white, Latino, African-American, and Asian American state legislative candidates emerge at similar rates. These results narrow the set of mechanisms that contribute to the underrepresentation of racial/ethnic minority groups, suggesting that perceptions of minority candidate viability play a key role in structuring contemporary disparities in who runs for office.

The Boss is Watching: How Monitoring Decisions Hurt Black Workers
Costas Cavounidis, Kevin Lang & Russell Weinstein
NBER Working Paper, September 2019

African Americans face shorter employment durations than apparently similar whites. We hypothesize that employers discriminate in either acquiring or acting on ability-relevant information. We construct a model in which firms may "monitor" workers. Monitoring black but not white workers is self-sustaining: new black hires are more likely to have been screened by a previous employer, causing firms to discriminate in monitoring. We confirm the model's prediction that the unemployment hazard is initially higher for blacks but converges to that for whites. Two additional predictions, lower lifetime incomes and longer unemployment durations for blacks, are known to be strongly empirically supported.

Disparities and Discrimination in Student Discipline by Race and Family Income
Nathan Barrett et al.
Journal of Human Resources, forthcoming

Black and poor students are suspended from U.S. schools at higher rates than white and non-poor students. While the existence of these disparities has been clear, the causes of the disparities have not. We use a novel dataset to examine how and where discipline disparities arise. By comparing the punishments given to black and white (or poor and non-poor) students who fight one another, we address a selection challenge that has kept prior studies from identifying discrimination in student discipline. We find that black and poor students are, in fact, punished more harshly than the students with whom they fight.

To Promote or Hire? How Racial Processes and Organizational Characteristics Affect Internal Promotions in NCAA Division I College Basketball Coaching
Ryan Seebruck & Scott Savage
Social Problems, forthcoming

We use data from 2008–2013 on the universe of internal promotion opportunities in the labor market of NCAA Division I men's college basketball coaching to examine how race and racial homophily affect the likelihood of internal promotion. We run probit regression analyses from the individual and organizational perspective, offering a robust test of six hypotheses. In line with the relational inequality perspective, we find that the racial match of assistants and head coaches explains discrepancies in internal promotion, with homogeneous white pairings seeing significantly increased odds compared to other racial combinations. In addition, our findings reveal that colleges and universities are more likely to promote internally as the racial composition of the staff more closely matches the race of the outgoing head coach, thereby underscoring how racial processes inform the micro-level interactions that shape organizational behavior.

Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in the Labor Market for Child Care Teachers
Casey Boyd-Swan & Chris Herbst
Educational Researcher, October 2019, Pages 394-406

This article examines racial and ethnic discrimination in the child care teacher hiring process. We construct a unique data set that combines a résumé audit study of center-based providers with a follow-up survey of those in the original audit sample. Fictitious résumés were randomly assigned White-, Black-, and Hispanic-sounding names and submitted in response to real teacher job advertisements. The survey was then administered to capture the characteristics of children, teachers, and administrators within the center. These data reveal three key results. First, we find robust evidence of discrimination: Black and Hispanic applicants receive significantly fewer interview requests than observationally equivalent Whites. Second, our results are consistent with a model of customer discrimination: The racial and ethnic composition of the center’s customer base is correlated with the characteristics of job seekers receiving an interview. Finally, we show that states’ child care regulations mitigate the racial and ethnic gap in interview requests.

Rookie Mistakes: The Interplay of Teacher Experience and Racial Representation
Katie Vinopal & Stephen Holt
Educational Researcher, October 2019, Pages 421-437

A growing body of research has documented the important benefits teachers of color bring to students of color, including higher expectations. Separately, researchers have shown that teachers improve student achievement with increasing effectiveness over their careers. We bridge these two streams of research by examining the extent to which teachers’ perceptions of racially dissimilar students vary by experience in the teaching profession. Using nationally representative data, we show that while the expectations gap between non-Black and Black teachers regarding Black students’ academic potential persists regardless of experience, the gap is much larger among first year teachers. We demonstrate that non-Black teachers with more than one year of experience have higher expectations of Black students than non-Black rookie teachers, and perhaps surprisingly, Black teachers with more than one year of experience have lower expectations of Black students compared to rookie Black teachers. We do not find such results for Latino/a students. We discuss the implications of these results for both research and practice.

Iron Cage or Paper Cage? The Interplay of Worker Characteristics and Organizational Policy in Shaping Unequal Responses to a Standardized Decision-Making Tool
Emily Bosk
Social Problems, forthcoming

Studies are largely optimistic about the ability of standardized procedures to constrain decision-makers’ biases and produce more equitable results across fields. However, work that embraces standardization as an equalizing force stands in contrast to research on standardization and street-level bureaucrats, which asserts that standardized procedures are not self-actuating and cannot be understood apart from the environments in which they are used. I examine how frontline workers vary in their approach to an actuarial-based tool intended to standardize judgments. In a highly controlled decision-making environment, child welfare workers whose racial and sex characteristics afford them higher status report subverting the tool; conversely, workers in the same position whose ascriptive characteristics yield them lower status in terms of race and sex describe following the rules. In an environment where the same tool is adopted only ceremonially, all workers experience decision-making as unconstrained, regardless of their ascriptive characteristics. This work fills gaps in knowledge about how social status and organizational context intersect to affect rule abidance. Examining these dynamic relationships advances understanding of how organizations reproduce inequality and the limits and potential for standardization to transform social hierarchies.

To Disclose or Not to Disclose: The Ironic Effects of the Disclosure of Personal Information About Ethnically Distinct Newcomers to a Team
Bret Crane, Melissa Thomas-Hunt & Selin Kesebir
Journal of Business Ethics, September 2019, Pages 909–921

Recently, scholars have argued that disclosure of personal information is an effective mechanism for building high-quality relationships. However, personal information can focus attention on differences in demographically diverse teams. In an experiment using 37 undergraduate teams, we examine how sharing personal information by ethnically similar and ethnically distinct newcomers to a team affects team perceptions, performance, and behavior. Our findings indicate that the disclosure of personal information by ethnically distinct newcomers improves team performance. However, the positive impact on team performance comes at a cost to the newcomers, who are perceived as less competent by others and experience heightened social discomfort in team interactions. Ironically, what benefits the ethnically diverse team may undermine its ethnically distinct members. This study highlights how the management of diversity may sometimes require making trade-offs between individual interests and those of the team.

Minority Support: School District Demographics and Support for Funding Election Measures
Daniel Alvord & Emily Rauscher
Urban Affairs Review, forthcoming

In the context of tight state budgets, local education funding is increasingly important. This article examines the relationship between district-level demographic characteristics and voter support for tax increases to fund the local school district. Using district-level panel data on California school district elections and demographics from 1995 to 2014, we ask the following questions: (1) What is the relationship between demographics and support for school district tax measures? and (2) Does this relationship vary by the type of tax measure? Results suggest that voter support varies by district demographics. However, results differ for bond and property tax measures and suggest that the proportion of Black students increases the likelihood of passing a bond measure but reduces the likelihood of passing a property tax measure. This heterogeneity offers one potential explanation for contradictory evidence in the literature. Results have implications for racial inequality of educational resources between districts.

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