Have you ever wondered if a name could make or break you?
The 50 percent gap in callback rates is statistically very significant, Bertrand and Mullainathan note in Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination (NBER Working Paper No. 9873). It indicates that a white name yields as many more callbacks as an additional eight years of experience. Race, the authors add, also affects the reward to having a better resume. Whites with higher quality resumes received 30 percent more callbacks than whites with lower quality resumes. But the positive impact of a better resume for those with Africa-American names was much smaller.
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