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The Black-White Recognition Gap in Award Nominations

Nayoung Rim (), Roman Rivera (), Andrea Kiss () and Bocar Ba ()
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Nayoung Rim: United States Naval Academy
Roman Rivera: Columbia University
Andrea Kiss: Duke University
Bocar Ba: University of California, Irvine

No 2020-065, Working Papers from Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group

Abstract: There is substantial evidence showing racial bias in firms' hiring decisions, but less is known about bias in career recognition or promotion, which may arguably be more important for the lack of diversity in upper-management positions and, ultimately, the racial wage gap. We construct a novel dataset of police nominations for awards to measure bias against minority employees in career recognition. Exploiting quasi-random variation in supervisor assignment, we find that white supervisors are less likely to nominate black officers for awards than white or Hispanic officers. Increased supervisor-officer interaction reduces, but does not eliminate, the black-white recognition gap. Furthermore, there are persistent benefits for white officers but not for black officers. We also conduct an online experiment and find respondents are less likely to acquire information about black officers relative to non-black officers. Our findings suggest bias in career recognition may be important for the black-white earnings gap and should be examined in further research. In regards to policing, our findings suggest that racial issues in policing are not just at issue between police and the public, but also within departments, and thus that simply hiring minority officers may be limited in its efficacy.

Keywords: racial bias; police officers; award nominations; supervisors (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J71 M51 J45 J48 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-lma
Note: MIP
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