Audits

A second approach to measuring discrimination is audits, in which people are actually observed in the act of discrimination. A typical audit . sends pairs of matched individuals of different groups (men and women •.black and white, etc.) into the field to buy a car, get a mortgage, or apply for a job. The results of the two sets of teams are then compared to see whether they were treated in equivalent fashion. For example, two people, one black.and one white, with equivalent resumes, age, education, and “job patter” would be sent to an employer. If the employer offers a job to the white person but not the black person, that is evidence of discrimination.

One example is a series of job audits conducted by the Urban Institute in Chicago, Washington, and Denver. The auditors found that white workers were 1.3 times more likely to receive a job offer than the matched black workers. Similar results show up’ in housing audits, where black and Hispanic households’ were less likely to be shown houses or apartments or were put off in subtle ways.

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