An Email Experiment to Identify the Effect of Racial Discrimination on Access to Lawyers: A Statistical Approach

10 Jun 2020  ·  Libgober Brian, Dasgupta Tirthankar ·

We consider the problem of conducting an experiment to study the prevalence of racial bias against individuals seeking legal assistance, in particular whether lawyers use clues about a potential client's race in deciding whether to reply to e-mail requests for representations. The problem of discriminating between potential linear and non-linear effects of a racial signal is formulated as a statistical inference problem, whose objective is to infer a parameter determining the shape of a specific function... Various complexities associated with the design and analysis of this experiment are handled by applying a novel combination of rigorous, semi-rigorous and rudimentary statistical techniques. The actual experiment was attempted with a population of lawyers in Florida, but could not be performed with the desired sample size due to resource limitations. Nonetheless, it provides a nice demonstration of the proposed steps involved in conducting such a study. read more

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