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Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination

September 2004

Marianne Bertrand, Sendhil Mullainathan


Resumes were randomly assigned with an “African-American sounding” or “white-sounding” name. These resumes were then sent in response to Help Wanted ads taken out in newspapers. Results showed that “white-sounding names” were 50-percent more likely to be called.

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Policy Implications

These results show racial discrimination continues to persist as a problem in the US labor market. Policies hoping to end discrimination may be well-served by anonymizing names on resumes.

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