Summary: In this brief video, José Zamora describes his frustrations applying to jobs and never getting responses from employers. He states that after sending out 50-100 applications per day, for months, he never received any responses from employers. He tried dropping the "s" from his name, becoming Joe Zamora. Within 7 days, he started getting responses from the same employers, using the same resume. José explains "I don't think people know, or are conscious or aware that they're judging, even if it's by a name. But I think we all do it all the time." Viewers might be encourage to wonder how our race and ethnicity is signaled and interpreted? How might this shape labor market outcomes and social stratification? While this description is only anecdotal evidence of racial discrimination, it is widely supported by audit studies that have tested for racial discrimination on the labor market. For example, we have previously written about institutional discrimination in this Freakonomics clip, where economist Sendhil Mullainathan discusses his (and co-author Marianne Bertrand's) 2004 field experiment that examined racial discrimination in the labor market (article here). They sent out 5,000 resumes to real job ads. Everything in the job ads was the same except that half of the names had traditionally African-American names (e.g. “Lakisha Washington” or “Jamal Jones”) and half had typical white names (e.g. “Emily Walsh” or “Greg Baker”). As they illustrate, people with African-American-sounding names have to send out 50% more resumes to get the same number of callbacks as people with white-sounding names. This study is further supported by Devah Pager's (2003) classic audit study, where she documented similar effects of racial discrimination through in-person applications. Thanks to Meredith Harrison for suggesting this clip!
Submitted By: Paul Dean