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Measuring Racial Discrimination (2004)

Chapter:Front Matter

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Measuring Racial Discrimination. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10887.
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MEASURING RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

Panel on Methods for Assessing Discrimination

Rebecca M. Blank, Marilyn Dabady, and Constance F. Citro, Editors

Committee on National Statistics

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washingon, D.C.
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Measuring Racial Discrimination. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10887.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study was supported by Contract/Grant Nos. 1000-0967, 40000660, 43-3AEP-0-80090, and ED-00-PO-4829 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Education, respectively. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Measuring racial discrimination / Panel on Methods for Assessing Discrimination, Committee on National Statistics, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education ; Rebecca M. Blank, Marilyn Dabady, and Constance F. Citro, editors.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 0-309-09126-8 (hardcover)—ISBN 0-309-53083-0 (pdf)

1. Race discrimination—Research—Statistical methods. I. Blank, Rebecca M. II. Dabady, Marilyn. III. Citro, Constance F. (Constance Forbes), 1942- IV. National Research Council (U.S.). Panel on Methods for Assessing Discrimination.

HT1523.M43 2004

305.8—dc22

2004002885

Additional copies of this report are available from the
National Academies Press,
500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu.

Printed in the United States of America.

Copyright 2004 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2004). Measuring Racial Discrimination. Panel on Methods for Assessing Discrimination. Rebecca M. Blank, Marilyn Dabady, and Constance F. Citro, Editors. Committee on National Statistics, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Measuring Racial Discrimination. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10887.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Measuring Racial Discrimination. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10887.
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PANEL ON METHODS FOR ASSESSING DISCRIMINATION

REBECCA M. BLANK (Chair),

Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan

JOSEPH G. ALTONJI,

Department of Economics, Yale University

ALFRED BLUMSTEIN,

H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University

LAWRENCE BOBO,*

Department of Sociology and Afro-American Studies, Harvard University

JOHN J. DONOHUE III,

Stanford University School of Law

ROBERTO FERNANDEZ,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management

STEPHEN E. FIENBERG,

Department of Statistics, Carnegie Mellon University

SUSAN T. FISKE,

Department of Psychology, Princeton University

GLENN C. LOURY,

Institute on Race and Social Division, Boston University

SAMUEL R. LUCAS,

Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley

DOUGLAS S. MASSEY,

Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

JANET L. NORWOOD,

Chevy Chase, MD

JOHN E. ROLPH,

Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California

MARILYN DABADY, Study Director

CONSTANCE F. CITRO, Senior Program Officer

MARISA A. GERSTEIN, Research Assistant

AGNES GASKIN, Senior Project Assistant

MARIA ALEJANDRO, Project Assistant through November 2002

DANELLE J. DESSAINT, Senior Project Assistant through July 2002

*  

Served on the panel until September 25, 2002.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Measuring Racial Discrimination. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10887.
×

COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL STATISTICS 2004

JOHN E. ROLPH (Chair),

Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California

JOSEPH G. ALTONJI,

Department of Economics, Yale University

ROBERT M. BELL,

AT&T Labs—Research, Florham Park, NJ

LAWRENCE D. BROWN,

Department of Statistics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

ROBERT M. GROVES,

Survey Research Center, University of Michigan, and Joint Program in Survey Methodology, University of Maryland

JOHN C. HALTIWANGER,

Department of Economics, Northwestern University

PAUL W. HOLLAND,

Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ

JOEL L. HOROWITZ,

Department of Economics, Northwestern University

WILLIAM KALSBEEK,

Department of Biostatistics, University of North Carolina

ARLEEN LEIBOWITZ,

School of Public Policy and Social Research, University of California, Los Angeles

VIJAYAN NAIR,

Department of Statistics and Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering, University of Michigan

DARYL PREGIBON,

AT&T Labs—Research, Florham Park, NJ

KENNETH PREWITT,

School of Public Affairs, Columbia University

NORA CATE SCHAEFFER,

Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

JAMES F. HINCHMAN, Acting Director

CONSTANCE F. CITRO, Acting Chief of Staff

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Measuring Racial Discrimination. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10887.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Measuring Racial Discrimination. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10887.
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Tables and Figures

TABLES

2-1

 

Racial categories in the U.S. census, 1790–2000,

 

31

4-1

 

A map of the potential points of discrimination within five domains,

 

67

10-1

 

Race and Hispanic origin population in the United States, 2000,

 

213

10-2

 

Census 2000 and C2SS in households,

 

215

FIGURES

2-1

 

A matrix of race,

 

37

5-1

 

Directed acyclic graphs to depict causal relationships,

 

81

7-1

 

Model of a nondiscriminating firm,

 

134

7-2

 

Model of a discriminating firm,

 

134

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Measuring Racial Discrimination. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10887.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Measuring Racial Discrimination. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10887.
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Preface

In the United States, large differences among racial and ethnic groups characterize many areas of social, economic, and political life, including such domains as the criminal justice system, education, employment, health care, and housing. For example, racial differences—which generally disadvantage minorities—exist in arrest and incarceration rates, earnings, income and wealth, levels of educational attainment, health status and health outcomes, and mortgage lending and homeownership. There are many possible explanations for such differences; one explanation may be the persistence of behaviors and processes of discrimination against minorities.

In this context, the Committee on National Statistics convened the Panel on Methods for Assessing Discrimination in 2001 to define racial discrimination; review and critique existing methods used to measure such discrimination and identify new approaches; and make recommendations regarding the best of these methods, as well as promising areas for future research. Because of wide interest in this topic, several funding agencies sponsored our study: the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Education.

The work of this panel is a direct outgrowth of the project that resulted in the two-volume report America Becoming: Racial Trends and Their Consequences (National Research Council, 2001a). Several of the panel members who were involved in producing these volumes held conversations around the question “What do we need to know to understand more about the role of race in American society?” At least one answer was

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Measuring Racial Discrimination. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10887.
×

“We need better methods to identify and understand the effects of race-based discrimination.”

The panel comprised a diverse group of experts in the fields of criminal justice, law, economics, psychology, public policy, sociology, and statistics. This diversity added a great deal to the creative debates among the panel members but also added to the difficulties in writing this report. It took time to develop a language and an intellectual framework with which we were all comfortable. In our report, we provide an extended discussion of definitions of discrimination and race, consolidating many aspects of a large social science literature on these topics. We also discuss various approaches to modeling and measuring discrimination in different fields. The interdisciplinary and diverse nature of the panel helped broaden these discussions, and we hope that our presentation of the definitional issues provides insight to those interested in the conceptualization of discrimination, just as we hope that our discussion of the methodological issues introduces new ideas to those engaged in measuring discrimination.

The breadth and complexity of the topic of discrimination and its effects posed a challenge for maintaining a tight focus on our charge, which was to define discrimination and review methods for measuring it. To keep to that charge, we spend no time discussing policies intended to alleviate discrimination (such as affirmative action or programs to build recruitment pools). We acknowledge, however, that the panel members have diverse opinions about appropriate policy options to address problems of discrimination, and inevitably our debates over policy issues at times crept into our debates over methodological issues.

Because of the charge and constraints on our time and resources, we focus our analysis on racial discrimination, particularly discrimination against African Americans, for which there is a very large literature. We do not address discrimination on the basis of nonracial factors, such as gender or age, nor do we discuss so-called reverse discrimination. Under the rubric of racial discrimination, we do include discrimination against ethnic groups, particularly Hispanics. The reasons have to do with the discrimination that has affected them coupled with the blurred nature of the definition of race and ethnicity for many Hispanics.

All of the panel members recognize the difficulties in defining racial discrimination in a clear way and in finding credible ways to measure it. There are different types of discrimination, different venues in which it can occur, and different ways in which it can have an effect. This report cannot address all of these topics comprehensively, but we have attempted to focus on at least some of the more important definitional and measurement problems. The measurement issues we address are relevant for understanding and measuring other types of discrimination. Despite the difficulty of our

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Measuring Racial Discrimination. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10887.
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task, the panel members are all persuaded that accurate methods to identify and measure discrimination are highly important, and as scholars and researchers, we were committed to carrying out our charge in the best way possible.

I want to thank the people who have been important in making this report possible. Marilyn Dabady served as the study director for the report and devoted long hours and tireless effort to its production. The report could not have been written without her expertise and assistance. Senior program officer Constance Citro provided extremely helpful editing and writing assistance. Other staff members who contributed to the report in important ways were Seth Hauser and Michael Cohen. Danelle Dessaint and Agnes Gaskin, the panel’s senior project assistants, provided outstanding assistance in organizing meetings, arranging travel, and preparing the final report. We are also grateful to Marisa Gerstein, who provided valuable research assistance to the panel.

Senior staff members Michael Feuer, Andrew White, Faith Mitchell, and Eugenia Grohman all provided useful advice to the panel as its deliberations proceeded. Our thanks to Rona Briere and Elaine McGarraugh for their careful editing of the report. Of course, we are grateful as well to our funders who made our work possible: the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We especially want to thank Joseph Meisel (Program Officer for Higher Education, Mellon Foundation), Alan Jenkins (Director, Human Rights, Ford Foundation) and Sara Rios (Program Officer, Ford Foundation), Marilyn Seastrom (Chief Statistician, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education), Susan Offutt (Administrator, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture), and their colleagues for their continued interest in this project.

A number of outside experts contributed valuable information for this study. Those who wrote commissioned papers for the panel included George Farkas, Pennsylvania State University; Harry Holzer, Georgetown University; Jens Ludwig, Georgetown University; Roslyn Mickelson, University of North Carolina-Charlotte; Robert Nelson and Eric Bennett, Northwestern University; Stephen Ross, University of Connecticut; James Ryan, Yale University; Thomas Smith, University of Chicago, National Opinion Research Center; and John Yinger, Syracuse University. Others testified to the panel on important issues. They included David Harris, University of Michigan; Rebecca Fitch, Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education; Richard Foster, Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education; Susan Offutt, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Todd Richardson, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Dan Sutherland, Chief of Staff, Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Measuring Racial Discrimination. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10887.
×

Education; Clyde Tucker, Senior Statistician, Bureau of Labor Statistics; Katherine Wallman, Chief Statistician, U.S. Office of Management and Budget; and Matthew Zingraff, North Carolina State University.

The panel also appreciates the useful assistance and insight of many colleagues during its deliberations. They include Ronald Ferguson, Harvard University; Joan First, National Coalition of Advocates for Students; Willis Hawley, University of Maryland; Judith Hellerstein, University of Maryland; John Kain, University of Texas-Dallas; Valerie Lee, University of Michigan; Jeanette Lim, Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education; Michael Rebell, Campaign for Fiscal Equality, Inc.; Francine Blau, Cornell University; David Card, University of California-Berkeley; Lindsay Chase-Landsdale, Northwestern University; Celina M. Chatman, University of Michigan; George Galster, Wayne State University; Robert Hauser, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Christopher Jencks, Harvard University; Nancy Krieger, Harvard University; Susan Murphy, University of Michigan; and Christopher Winship, Harvard University.

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: John C. Bailar III, Department of Health Studies (emeritus), University of Chicago; Francine D. Blau, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University; William Darity, Jr., Department of Economics, University of North Carolina; Christopher Edley, Law School, Harvard University; Richard A. Epstein, Law School, University of Chicago; Paul Holland, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey; James M. Jones, Department of Psychology, University of Delaware; Shelly Lundberg, Center for Research on Families, University of Washington; Ewart A.C. Thomas, Department of Psychology, Stanford University; Larry Wasserman, Department of Statistics, Carnegie Mellon University; and David R. Williams, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan.

Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the report’s conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Cora B. Marrett, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of Wisconsin System

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Measuring Racial Discrimination. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10887.
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Administration, and Lyle V. Jones, L.L. Thurstone Psychometric Laboratory, University of North Carolina. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Finally, and most important, I thank the panel members themselves. Our discussions have been challenging, contentious, humorous, frustrating, enjoyable, and always intellectually stimulating. Each panel member contributed much time and effort to intellectually shaping, writing, editing, and critiquing this report. I believe the final product reflects the level of interest, concern, and commitment every panel member brought to the table.

Rebecca M. Blank, Chair

Panel on Methods for Assessing Discrimination

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2004. Measuring Racial Discrimination. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10887.
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Next: Executive Summary »
Measuring Racial Discrimination Get This Book
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Many racial and ethnic groups in the United States, including blacks, Hispanics, Asians, American Indians, and others, have historically faced severe discrimination—pervasive and open denial of civil, social, political, educational, and economic opportunities. Today, large differences among racial and ethnic groups continue to exist in employment, income and wealth, housing, education, criminal justice, health, and other areas. While many factors may contribute to such differences, their size and extent suggest that various forms of discriminatory treatment persist in U.S. society and serve to undercut the achievement of equal opportunity.

Measuring Racial Discrimination considers the definition of race and racial discrimination, reviews the existing techniques used to measure racial discrimination, and identifies new tools and areas for future research. The book conducts a thorough evaluation of current methodologies for a wide range of circumstances in which racial discrimination may occur, and makes recommendations on how to better assess the presence and effects of discrimination.

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