Racial disparities in job finding and offered wages

Roland G. Fryer, Devah Pager, Jörg L. Spenkuch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The extent to which discrimination can explain racial wage gaps is one of the most divisive issues in the social sciences. Using a newly available data set, this paper develops a simple empirical test that, under plausible (but not innocuous) conditions, provides a lower bound on the extent of discrimination in the labor market. Taken at face value, our estimates imply that differential treatment accounts for at least one-third of the black-white wage gap. We argue that the patterns in our data are most naturally rationalized through a search-matching model in which employers statistically discriminate on the basis of race when hiring unemployed workers but learn about their marginal product over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-689
Number of pages57
JournalJournal of Law and Economics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law


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