Bias against indigenous Americans?

We conducted a resume correspondence experiment to measure discrimination in hiring faced by Indigenous Peoples in the United States (Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians). We sent employers realistic 13,516 resumes for common jobs (retail sales, kitchen staff, server, janitor, and security) in 11 cities and compared callback rates. We signaled Indigenous status in one of four different ways. We almost never find any differences in callback rates, regardless of the context. These findings hold after numerous robustness checks, although our checks and discussions raise multiple concerns that are relevant to audit studies generally.

That is from Patrick Button and Brigham Walter in their new NBER Working Paper.


Well that finding won't advance their careers much. Are they approaching retirement?

You're right. I think ageism is a bit underappreciated as a barrier to employment for older folks

How would anyone recognize an Indian name?

A resume comes in by the name of Patrick White Feather and you draw no conclusions?

I’m guessing this paper will not receive very much media attention. What could be worse than the positive finding of no evidence of discrimination?

Really well constructed study. I suppose the rubber meets the road on the hiring results, not just callbacks.....but this is good news. I wonder how the results of other audit studies would fare if done this carefully.

'the rubber meets the road on the hiring results, not just callbacks'

Shh - that is the sort of thing that HR people in many organizsatiuons don't like to discuss. They prefer talking about the diversity of applicants and their efforts to reach an ever wider group of people. Talking about the actual hirees tends to be a lot less highlighted.

This game has been going on for more than a generation in the U.S. at this point, and those playing it have grown quite skilled.

You were a lousy employee. Get over it.

In Chicago, LA or New York human resources people are unlikely to recognize names as being native American. Honolulu is a Hawaiian city, many Hawaiians live and work there already.

Surely by now everyone knows that Elizabeth is a Cherokee name?

I thought it was Pocahontas. At least that's what Trump keeps calling her.

> Surely by now everyone knows that Elizabeth is a Cherokee name?

I won't be surprised if Elizabeth Warren was Cherokee because she looks exactly like the other Cherokees to me. The federally-recognized Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma is the whitest sovereign nation on the planet - 100% white - which makes it whiter than Sweden, Norway or Finland. - these are the Cherokee elders and they have been close to 100% white since the 1800's. The hypothesis among Natives is that the real Cherokees refused to sign away their lands and went hiding in the hills, so Indian agents signed up their white families and relatives to get Indian land. Yale professor - and wife of former Stanford Dean - Delphine Redshirt argues in The American Indian Quarterly that federally-recognized Indian nations like the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma have been fraudulently created by the federal government.

So Senator Warren looks exactly like the other federally-recognized Cherokees.

I know it is sort of against the rules on this blog to actually read the paper before commenting on it - but one of the signals used in the study was "languages spoken." I would think that someone that puts Navajo as a language spoken would be a pretty good indicator that the applicant was Navajo. So, the study results are not dependent on the names being recognized as.....

But, as others have pointed out, the real question is about the hiring results, not the consideration of applications. Most HR departments are well aware of discrimination issues - and, in fact, actively pursue applications from minority applicants. In considering applications, I would expect the treatment to be concertedly equal. But it is the hiring results that we really want to know.

Why waste your life with comments like this? The observation is so obvious that could just assume someone dedicating time and money to the questions maybe also thought of something so basic.

Or, if you are extremely skeptical, you could check THE ACTUAL WORK to see if they accounted for this possibility rather than discounting the work on the basis of nothing.

In this case you would find a relatively sophisticated study of the signal effectiveness and saliency within and across sample cities.

To excerpt:

"To summarize, the white resumes (no signals) are usually identified as white (86.8% of the time). However, resumes with a Native American (Native Hawaiian) signal were detected as AIAN (NHPI) at rates
between 18.8% to 74.2% (26.4% to 82.0%). 59 More specifically, the Navajo last name only signal is very weak (18.8%) compared to the language signal only (32.4%) or the volunteer signal only (37.2%), which are stronger, but still not strong. Saliency is significantly higher when using more than one signal, ranging from 58.0% for Navajo last name and volunteer experience to 74.2% for Navajo last name and Navajo language listed."

Bias against Indigenous Americans??? You don't have to be an 'extremely stable genius' to know that...……...

Try this in areas with lots of natives and you will probably get a different result. The trouble is that is a lot of small, less than 100k, or even 70k, cities. This is one kind of discrimination I have seen quite a bit of in person. The Upper Midwest, Pavific Northwest and Interior West have a lot of issues here.

It doesn’t help native Americans much if there isn’t much discrimination where there are not a lot of them, or even in cities where the native population is large but atomized and utterly swamped like Oakland for example. Jobs need to be available in places like MT, MN, UT, or WA.

Or try Canada where it is a lot worse.

I've just thought of a wonderful way to cheer up Red Indians, Blacks, and so on. The US should recruit lots of Aussie Aborigines as immigrants. As long as you don't recruit the ones highlighted on Mr Sailer's blog.

I am a FBI (what white people call "Full-Blood Indian"). I didn't read the original paper - yet - but would like to say discrimination against Indians is most intense in the area we call "the borderlands." These are the areas that surround our reservations. Discrimination is also intense in "the Mormonlands," given their religion views us as sinful recent immigrants from Israel that committed a holocaust against the white Nephite race, which is why God turned our skin dark in color. Discrimination against us is likely to be least intense in Germany because they were raised by an author who wrote stories portraying Indians in a positive light. Almost all visitors to our reservations are from Germany. There are also a number of pow wows held in Germany each year. So the study findings vary based on where the study was conducted.

Incidentally, the traditional sovereigns among us don't take well to being called "Native Americans" and you will hear sentiments like "I'd rather be called a drunk instead" expressed by our Elders. This is hard for the PC crowd to understand until you give them the example of how Palestinians would feel if they are called Native Israelis or how Tibetans might react to being called Native Chinese.

"how Palestinians would feel if they are called Native Israelis": some might feel that it was about time they were recognised as descendants of the biblical Israelites.

Um, no, they’re not. They are descendants of Abraham, who was Israel’s grandfather.

Palestinians would feel if they are called Native Israelis

"Thank fuck the Zionist Jewish settlers have finally acknowledged it rather than calling us Arabs!"?

"how Tibetans might react to being called Native Chinese"

"Eh? That's weird, we're living in Tibet and our indigenity to Tibet has never been under dispute in even the strangest PRC discourse? WTF?"?

I call them Geronimo or Pocahontas. More fun that way.

Your comment presents a very distorted and inaccurate view of what Mormons believe about Indians. I guess you're just repeating what you've been told by non-Mormons, but you might consider looking at what they themselves say they believe.

It's great that someone cares about Native Americans enough to look into this. But seeing how this research does not help the Dems, you can expect the NYT/WaPo/CNN clique to care very, very little.

Get back to us when they are protesting against a Republican industry, mmm-kay? (Drumming near a white high school kid isn't gonna cut it any more, either.)

> Drumming near a white high school kid isn't gonna cut it any more, either

I know the guy who drummed. I know people in his family too or whatever is left of his family. I am pretty sure someone paid him and "engineered" the entire situation well in advance. What you saw was almost certainly reality tv cleverly engineered and planned well in advance by some PR firm in Washington DC.

Or they could try running the experiment in the region you now call "Canada." In Canada, strangely, even the cops treat us much better than their average citizens, who detest us intensely. Once again, I haven't read the paper, but I bet I could find a million holes in their work, if I cared enough.

Not sure about detest, but the only Canadian who talked about First Nations Canadians in Germany was certainly not worried about ensuring that her opinions would fit into a U.S. perspective.

Though oddly, she sounded just like a number of commenters here.

So changing my name to Sitting Bull wouldn't hurt my carreer?

When I was a younger man I often fished a river that runs through an Indian reservation in Montana. The area was made famous as the result of a victory by Indians against George Armstrong Custer in the battle known to whites as the Battle of the Little Bighorn (or Custer's Last Stand). I have visited the monument where the battle was fought, just outside the community where the main offices of the reservation are located. The reservation is a sad place, poverty and dysfunction being pervasive. But there is some perverse justice to the place: the reservation was given not to the tribes that defeated Custer, but the tribe that collaborated with the American military as a reward for their collaboration. In a blog post not long ago, Cowen ridiculed the film Dances with Wolves for reasons not altogether clear but likely for its portrayal of whites as stupid, dirty, and cruel. When it comes to the treatment of Indians, native Americans, hyperbole is impossible.

I think hyperbole certainly is possible. Not that American Indians were generally dealt with fairly, but many people act like their treatment was not at all related to the utterly routine brutal torture-killing of white (and other Indian) children, old ladies, etc. by American Indians. Once you've seen enough children tortured to death, I imagine that can harden your heart.

Which cities were on or next to reservations?

Generally, if not resident at least part of the time on a reservation, you cease to be native American.

Otherwise, this is like looking for bias against Irish heritage today, based on past bias from employer agents recruiting Irish to (defacto) indentured servitude building railroads, ditto Chinese based on recruiting from China to build railroads.

Does anybody ever publish a study of affirmative action's prevalence? It's seems like this vast Dark Matter in the social sciences that has existed in the U.S. for 50 years with little investigation into basic questions such as its magnitude.

Re: Study of Affirmative Actions Prevalence:

You mean affirmative action for white people?

That's called white privilege.

Doesn't exist, or if it does, this seems like a vast Dark Matter in the social sciences that has existed for hundreds of years with little investigation into basic questions such as its magnitude.

This was meant to be a response to Steve Sailer's comment above.

So just to make sure I understand your point- it's that racial discrimination should not be studied?

It would seem useful for all concerned to know which jobs and which career paths have the most affirmative action and which have the least, yet it seems to be kept hushed up like a shameful secret.

To take one prominent example, Michelle Obama has long resented the big student loans she ran up attending Harvard Law School, only to find out shortly after she started a high paying job at a Big Law firm that she would never ever make partner because affirmative action evaporated at the partner level.

MO took a different route - she married an alpha male and had a couple of kids. She even made cookies. Now she is a famous author, having written a book about herself and all her accomplishments, which were ... ?

Thank you, tenured researchers, for muddying the resume pool with 13k fake entries that prevent people who are actually seeking a job from finding one. I am sure corporate HR departments are also thrilled to fund their own involuntarily participation in your experiment.

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