A Test of Screening Discrimination with Employer Learning
This paper tests for the presence of screening discrimination, a type of statistical discrimination that occurs when employers are less able to evaluate the ability of workers from one group than from another. Using data from the 2000 release of the NLSY79, the author examines wage equations in a framework of employer learning to test the hypothesis that the market receives less reliable productivity signals at labor market entry from black men than from white men. The estimation results support this hypothesis. Variables that are difficult for employers to observe, such as the AFQT score, had less influence on the wages of black men (and easily observed variables had more influence) than on the wages of white men. The influence of hard-to-observe variables on wages, however, increased faster with experience for black men.