Posted by The Situationist Staff on October 24, 2011
Ian Ayres, Situationist Contributor Mahzarin Banaji, and Christine Jolls recently posted their paper, titled “Race Effects on Ebay” on SSRN. Here’s the abstract.
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We investigate the impact of seller race in a field experiment involving baseball card auctions on eBay. Photographs showed the cards held by either a dark-skinned/African-American hand or a light-skinned/Caucasian hand. Cards held by African-American sellers sold for approximately 20% ($0.90) less than cards held by Caucasian sellers, and the race effect was more pronounced in sales of minority player cards. Our evidence of race differentials is important because the on-line environment is well controlled (with the absence of confounding tester effects) and because the results show that race effects can persist in a thick real-world market such as eBay.
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Download the paper for free here.
Related Situationist posts:
Posted in Abstracts, Implicit Associations, Marketing, Online Experiment | Tagged: discrimination | Leave a Comment »
Posted by The Situationist Staff on July 20, 2011
Kerri Lynn Stone recently posted her article, “Clarifying Stereotyping” (59 Kansas Law Review 2011) on SSRN. Here’s the abstract.
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People make comments all the time that include or invoke stereotypes. Sometimes those comments are indicative of their belief systems or values. Sometimes they are feeble – or genuine – attempts at humor or wit. Sometimes people speak rashly and in anger. Many times, people are misunderstood, and their true feelings are belied by a clumsy choice of words. Much of the law of employment discrimination necessarily implicates a searching probe into the often undisclosed – sometimes even to oneself – motivations, beliefs, and intentions that underlie an impel acts alleged to have been discriminatorily premised on someone’s race, gender, or protected class status. Rarely in this day and age does one who suspects that discrimination has befallen him have a “smoking gun” or an admission to that effect. Generally, the undisclosed mindset of a discriminatory decision-maker, far from a simple hidden secret, is actually a complex tapestry of unvoiced beliefs, assumptions, and associations. This tapestry, a victim of discrimination soon realizes, is typically too tightly woven to easily extricate the needed, discrete strand of thought that shows a predisposition to see or judge certain groups differently.
This Article addresses the largely undefined, misunderstood-yet-often-resorted-to concept of “stereotyping” as a basis for, or sufficient evidence of, liability for employment discrimination. Since, the concept’s genesis in Supreme Court jurisprudence in 1989, Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, plaintiffs have proffered remarks alleged to be tinged with, or indicating the presence of, impermissible stereotypes as evidence of discrimination based on protected-class status – be that sex, race, color, religion, or national origin – in contravention of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Article examines the language in Hopkins and its precise mandates and guidance for lower courts. It then explains the widespread extrapolation of Hopkins by lower courts and the framework in which the case now operates.
This Article posits that Hopkins furnished guidance that is less than clear as to when so-called “stereotyping” is evidence that warrants evaluation by a trier of fact and when a comment is harmless or too attenuated from an adverse action to permit an allegation of discrimination to survive. The Article also identifies the various smaller, often unarticulated questions bound up in the larger issues of when impermissible stereotyping has occurred and how various courts’ failures to specify these questions and their answers may have led to the confused state of stereotyping jurisprudence. The Article aims to dispel the myth, propagated in part by courts’ misreading of Hopkins, that there is such a discrete cause of action as “stereotyping.” At the same time, it reviews the myriad of cases that have tried to decide, as a matter of law, when a stereotyped comment sufficed to create an issue of fact as to intentional discrimination and breaks down this complex question. Courts appear to have no real uniform standards for evaluating when a statement alleged to have stereotyped a plaintiff is probative and when it can only reasonably be seen as a misspeak, a mistake, or otherwise too “stray” to suffice as evidence that impermissible discrimination took place.
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Download the article for free here.
Related Situationist posts:
Posted in Abstracts, Law, Legal Theory | Tagged: Antidiscrimination Law, Civil Rights Act, discrimination, Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, stereotyping | Leave a Comment »
Posted by The Situationist Staff on March 10, 2011
Theresa Beiner recently posted her article, “Shift Happens: The U.S. Supreme Court’s Shifting Antidiscrimination Rhetoric” (forthcoming in University of Toledo Law Review) on SSRN. Here’s the abstract.
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The United States Supreme Court’s discourse on discrimination affects how fundamental civil rights – such as the right to be free from gender and race discrimination – are adjudicated and conceptualized in this country. Shortly after Congress passed Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Court established precedent that assumed discrimination, absent some other compelling explanation for employer conduct. While the Court was more reluctant to presume such discrimination by governmental actors, it was deferent to Congress’s ability to set standards that would presume discrimination. Over time, however, that presumption and the Court’s deference to Congress has dissipated, and today, the Court actually presumes non-discrimination, absent some evidence that shows an employer or governmental actor was intentionally discriminating. This article will describe the shift in the Supreme Court’s rhetoric over time, with an eye toward trying to understand why this shift has occurred and what the implications of this shift are for those who have suffered discrimination and wish to pursue their rights in court. In addition, this article will consider non-legal sources to determine whether such a shift is warranted by a decrease in race and gender discrimination in American society.
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Download the paper for free here.
Related Situationist posts:
Posted in Abstracts, Law | Tagged: discrimination, equal protection, title vii, United States Supreme Court | 2 Comments »
Posted by The Situationist Staff on February 6, 2011
On Tuesday, the HLS Student Association for Law and Mind Sciences (SALMS) is hosting a talk by Suffolk Law professor Patrick Shin entitled “Unconscious Bias and the Legal Concept of Discrimination.”
Professor Shin is a professor of law at Suffolk University Law School. He conducts research into the meaning and value of diversity in antidiscrimination law. He has applied psychology to real-world problems of employment discrimination law.
Professor Shin will be speaking in Austin East from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Free burritos will be provided! For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted in Events, Implicit Associations, Law, Legal Theory | Tagged: discrimination, Implicit Associations, Patrick Shin, SALMS, Unconscious Bias | 1 Comment »
Posted by The Situationist Staff on April 28, 2010
Patrick Shin recently posted his excellent article, titled “Liability for Unconscious Discrimination? A Thought Experiment in the Theory of Employment Discrimination Law” (forthcoming Hastings Law Journal) on SSRN. Here’s the abstract.
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A steadily mounting body of social science research suggests that ascertaining a person’s conscious motives for an action may not always provide a complete explanation of why he did it. The phenomenon of unconscious bias presents a worrisome impediment to the achievement of fair equality in the workplace. There have been numerous deeply insightful articles discussing various aspects of this problem and canvassing its implications for antidiscrimination law.
My purpose in this paper is to focus directly on what might be called a more naïve question: should implicit bias be a basis of disparate treatment liability under Title VII? The question might fairly be regarded as naïve insofar as any proposal for such liability would surely be unripe for present implementation, in light of serious issues pertaining to problems of proof in individual cases, not to mention intramural disputes among experts about the proper practical inferences that can be drawn from extant social science research.
My interest, however, is more theoretically basic. I want to understand whether and how the notion of unconsciously biased action fits into our operative legal concept of actionable discrimination. To reach that issue, I devise a thought experiment in which I assume, first, that unconscious or implicit bias is real in a sense that I will make explicit, and second, that unconscious discrimination is provable – i.e., that the influence of implicit bias on an agent’s action is something that can, in principle, be proved in individual cases. With these assumptions, I construct an hypothetical test case that squarely raises what I regard to be the hard question for theorizing about unconscious discrimination. Should an employment action give rise to liability when that action was provably affected by the actor’s unconscious bias in respect of a statutorily protected classification, even when the actor consciously acted only on legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons? The payoff of this thought experiment is not only a clearer picture of the theoretical commitments entailed by liability based on unconscious bias, but also a keener understanding of our currently prevailing notions of actionable discrimination.
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You can download the paper for free here. For a sample of related Situationist posts, see “Krieger on the Situation of Discrimination in France,” “What Are the Legal Implications of Implicit Biases?,” “Colorblinded Wages – Abstract,” “Firefighters and the Situation of “Merit”,” and “The Situation of Situation in Employment Discrimination Law – Abstract.” For a list of Situationist posts discussing the research on implicit bias and the IAT, click here.
Posted in Abstracts, Implicit Associations, Law | Tagged: discrimination, implicit bias, Unconscious Bias, unconscious discrimination | 1 Comment »
Posted by The Situationist Staff on January 12, 2010
Situationist Contributor Linda Hamilton Krieger is the French-American Foundation’s scholar-in-residence at Sciences Po. She recently appeared on a France24 debate to discuss French and American strategies for fighting discrimination in hiring and education. You can watch the roughly six-minute video of the interview below.
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To review a sample of related Situationist posts, see see “Implicit Associations on Oprah,” “Afraid of Knowing Ourselves,” “Why Race May Influence Us Even When We “Know” It Doesn’t,” “Geoffrey Cohen on “Identity, Belief, and Bias”,” “Colorblinded Wages – Abstract,” “The Cognitive Costs of Interracial Interactions,” “Measuring Implicit Attitudes,” “Firefighters and the Situation of “Merit”,” “The Situation of Situation in Employment Discrimination Law – Abstract.”
Posted in Implicit Associations, Politics, Situationist Contributors, Video | Tagged: discrimination, Implicit Associations, Linda Krieger, prejudice, racism | Leave a Comment »
Posted by The Situationist Staff on September 23, 2009
Aaron C. Kay, Danielle Gaucher, Jennifer M. Peach, Kristin Laurin, Justin Friesen, Mark P. Zanna, and Steven J. Spencer have recently published their article, “Inequality, Discrimination, and the Power of the Status Quo: Direct Evidence for a Motivation to See the Way Things Are as the Way They Should Be” (97 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 421– 434 (2009). Here’s the abstract.
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How powerful is the status quo in determining people’s social ideals? The authors propose (a) that people engage in injunctification, that is, a motivated tendency to construe the current status quo as the most desirable and reasonable state of affairs (i.e., as the most representative of how things should be); (b) that this tendency is driven, at least in part, by people’s desire to justify their sociopolitical systems; and (c) that injunctification has profound implications for the maintenance of inequality and societal change. Four studies, across a variety of domains, provided supportive evidence. When the motivation to justify the sociopolitical system was experimentally heightened, participants injunctified extant (a) political power (Study 1), (b) public funding policies (Study 2), and (c) unequal gender demographics in the political and business spheres (Studies 3 and 4, respectively). It was also demonstrated that this motivated phenomenon increased derogation of those who act counter to the status quo (Study 4). Theoretical implications for system justification theory, stereotype formation, affirmative action, and the maintenance of inequality are discussed.
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In 2008, Situationist Contributor Aaron Kay presented some of research underlying that article at the Second Annual Project on Law and Mind Sciences Conference at Harvard Law School. Below you can watch videos of his presentation in three parts.
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For a sample of related Situationist posts see “Thanksgiving as “System Justification”?,” “Cheering for the Underdog,”The Unconscious Situation of our Consciousness – Part IV,” and “The (Unconscious) Situation of our Consciousness – Part III.” To review all of the Situationist posts that discuss system justification motive, click here. “
Posted in Abstracts, Ideology, Implicit Associations, Situationist Contributors, System Legitimacy, Video | Tagged: discrimination, inequality, System Justification, system threat | Leave a Comment »
Posted by The Situationist Staff on June 12, 2009
Jonathan Todres has recently posted a fascinating article, titled “Law, Otherness, and Human Trafficking” (49 Santa Clara Law Review 605-672 (2009) on SSRN. Here’s the abstract.
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Despite concerted efforts to combat human trafficking, the trade in persons persists and, in fact, continues to grow. This article suggests that a central reason for the limited success in preventing human trafficking is the dominant conception of the problem, which forms the basis for law developed to combat human trafficking. Specifically, the author argues that “otherness” is a root cause of both inaction and the selective nature of responses to the abusive practice of human trafficking. Othering operates across multiple dimensions, including race, gender, ethnicity, class, caste, culture, and geography, to reinforce a conception of a virtuous “Self” and a devalued “Other.” This article exposes how this Self/Other dichotomy shapes the phenomenon of human trafficking, driving demand for trafficked persons, influencing perceptions of the problem, and constraining legal initiatives to end the abuse. By examining human trafficking through an otherness-aware framework, this article aims to elucidate a deeper understanding of human trafficking and offer a prescription for reducing the adverse effects of otherness on both efforts to combat human trafficking and the individuals that now suffer such abuses.
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You can download the article for free here. For a sample of related Situationist posts, see “The Situational Effect of Groups,” “The Situational Benefits of Outsiders,” “Racism Meets Groupism and Teamism,” “‘Us’ and ‘Them,’” “Team-Interested Decision Making,” “Some (Interior) Situational Sources War – Part I,” and “March Madness.”
Posted in Abstracts, Distribution, Ideology, Morality, Public Policy, System Legitimacy | Tagged: altruism, bias, children, culture, discrimination, gender, human rights, human trafficking, international law, othering, otherness, race, women | Leave a Comment »
Posted by The Situationist Staff on February 5, 2009
Joni Hersch recently posted a fascinating paper, titled “Color, Discrimination, and Immigrant Pay” on SSRN. This is her latest paper in a larger set of articles on the topic. Here’s the abstract.
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In “Profiling the New Immigrant Worker: The Effects of Skin Color and Height,” (Journal of Labor Economics 2008), I present strong evidence of a wage penalty to darker skin color among new legal immigrants to the United States. Immigrants with the lightest skin color earn on average 17 percent higher wages than comparable immigrants with the darkest skin color, taking into account Hispanic ethnicity, race, country of birth, education, English language proficiency, family background, and occupation in the source country. This current paper demonstrates that the penalty to darker skin color is not a spurious consequence of omitted variables bias. Instead, discrimination on the basis of skin color is the most likely explanation of the findings.
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To download the paper for free, click here. To read some related Situationist posts, see “Colorblinded Wages - Abstract,” “Shades of Fairness and the Marketing of Prejudice,” and “Black History is Now.”
Posted in Abstracts, Implicit Associations | Tagged: discrimination, immigrant wages, legal immigrants, skin color, wages | Leave a Comment »
Posted by The Situationist Staff on August 7, 2008
Bela August Walker recently posted her fascinating article, “Fractured Bonds: Policing Whiteness and Womanhood Through Race-Based Marriage Annulments” (forthcoming DePaul Law Review) on SSRN. In it she explores the role of law in shaping stereotypes. Here’s the abstract.
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In the hundred years before the United States Supreme Court declared miscegenation statutes unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia, state courts decided thirteen recorded race-based annulment cases. This article presents a unified analysis of all race based annulment cases for the first time. Simultaneously public and private affairs, these dramas impacted far more than the individual couples or courtrooms, sending out shockwaves that reverberated beyond their points of origin. The results of the cases are startling and contrary to previous work on the subject.
Using this unique set of cases, this article argues that while declaring these women white appears like a deviation from white supremacy, the courts’ decisions were used to preserve white racial dominance. Through the annulment case decisions, the court stepped in to protect women with a taint of blackness, declaring them pure and worthy of the mantle of whiteness. By legally erasing the women’s potential racial taint, the court seemingly chooses to protect obedient women against their husbands, affirming marriage and domesticity over racial prejudices. In contrast, the court acted to protect the ideology of whiteness. To preserve notions of white womanhood, this status had to be defended, even as it violated standards of racial purity.
Posted in Abstracts, Deep Capture, History, Ideology | Tagged: annulment, blackness, caselaw, Courts, discrimination, family, gender, History, husband, ideology of whiteness, indentity, marriage, race, true womanhood, whiteness, wife, womanhood | Leave a Comment »