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Racial Discrimination in Local Public Services: A Field Experiment in the US

Racial Discrimination in Local Public Services: A Field Experiment in the US
Racial Discrimination in Local Public Services: A Field Experiment in the US
Discrimination in access to public services can act as a major obstacle towards addressing racial inequality. We examine whether racial discrimination exists in access to a wide spectrum of public services in the US. We carry out an email correspondence study in which we pose simple queries to more than 19,000 local public service providers. We find that emails are less likely to receive a response if signed by a black-sounding name compared to a white-sounding name. Given a response rate of 72% for white senders, emails from putatively black senders are almost 4 percentage points less likely to receive an answer. We also find that responses to queries coming from black names are less likely to have a cordial tone. Further tests demonstrate that the differential in the likelihood of answering is due to animus towards blacks rather than inferring socioeconomic status from race.
discrimination, public services provision, school districts, libraries, sheriffs, field experiment, correspondence study
9290
IZA
Giulietti, Corrado
c662221c-fad3-4456-bfe3-78f8a5211158
Tonin, Mirco
2929ca00-ca4e-4eb3-bf2b-a5d233b80253
Vlassopoulos, Michael
2d557227-958c-4855-92a8-b74b398f95c7
Giulietti, Corrado
c662221c-fad3-4456-bfe3-78f8a5211158
Tonin, Mirco
2929ca00-ca4e-4eb3-bf2b-a5d233b80253
Vlassopoulos, Michael
2d557227-958c-4855-92a8-b74b398f95c7

Giulietti, Corrado, Tonin, Mirco and Vlassopoulos, Michael (2015) Racial Discrimination in Local Public Services: A Field Experiment in the US (IZA Discussion Paper, 9290) IZA

Record type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)

Abstract

Discrimination in access to public services can act as a major obstacle towards addressing racial inequality. We examine whether racial discrimination exists in access to a wide spectrum of public services in the US. We carry out an email correspondence study in which we pose simple queries to more than 19,000 local public service providers. We find that emails are less likely to receive a response if signed by a black-sounding name compared to a white-sounding name. Given a response rate of 72% for white senders, emails from putatively black senders are almost 4 percentage points less likely to receive an answer. We also find that responses to queries coming from black names are less likely to have a cordial tone. Further tests demonstrate that the differential in the likelihood of answering is due to animus towards blacks rather than inferring socioeconomic status from race.

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Published date: 1 August 2015
Keywords: discrimination, public services provision, school districts, libraries, sheriffs, field experiment, correspondence study
Organisations: Social Sciences, Economics, Centre for Population Change

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 410179
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/410179
PURE UUID: b272970c-2ecb-4941-9a1a-53cbddabd836
ORCID for Corrado Giulietti: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2986-4438
ORCID for Michael Vlassopoulos: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3683-1466

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 06 Jun 2017 04:02
Last modified: 18 Sep 2019 00:35

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