The Effects of Name Perception and Selection on Social Science Measurement of Racial Discrimination

I am currently working with Edvard Larsen, a postdoc at the University of Oslo, on a project that investigates whether race and class perceptions of names influence the outcomes found in correspondence audit studies. In other words, is our understanding of racial discrimination biased by the names we choose in correspondence audit studies?

The basic idea is simple: if 90% of people view Jamal Washington as Black and 50% of people view Mark Washington as Black, Jamal may experience more racial discrimination than Mark.

Data Request – We Need Your Assistance

We are looking for correspondence audits that have used names to signal race (White and Black only, for now). To date, we have collected data on nearly four dozen studies (listed below), but we would like to add more. We have conducted extensive searches to locate research, but we need your help. Correspondence audits have become increasingly popular and many exist in working paper format or conference presentations only and are harder to track down. We are open to including more correspondence audits with the following conditions:

  1. Correspondence audits conducted in the U.S. or Canada only.
  2. Correspondence audits that use names to signal race. We prefer that the research uses at least 2 White names and 2 Black names, but contact us anyway if something otherwise fits the other criteria.
  3. The domain, context, or discipline doesn’t matter. We’re interested in all of them – housing, employment, political, or other audits from sociology, economics, political science, etc.

Please Contact Us

If your research (or other research you know of) fits with what we need, please contact us at mgaddis AT and e.n.larsen AT You can also send us a message with a link to a study on Twitter @smgaddis or @audit_studies.

Working Paper – Coming Soon

The first working paper from this project will be posted to SSRN soon. Check out this link for updates.

Current List of Known Studies

Our current list of known studies fits five categories (updated 3/4/21):

  1. Studies by researchers who have publicly posted their data or responded to our data request.
  2. Studies without public data; researchers have responded and we are awaiting data.
  3. Studies without public data; we are currently waiting on a response to our data request.
  4. Studies by researchers who have responded to our data request but cannot provide data or data are unusable for various reasons.
  5. Studies that do not meet the criteria for inclusion for various reasons.
  6. Studies by researchers who have ignored or declined our data request.


Data Available and Received (49)

2004. Bertrand and Mullainathan. “Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal?” American Economic Review.

2010. Friedman,  Squires, and Galvan. “Cybersegregation in Boston and Dallas: Is Neil a More Desirable Tenant than Tyrone or Jorge?” Working paper.

2011. Hanson and Hawley. “Do Landlords Discriminate in the Rental Housing Market? Evidence from an Internet Field Experiment in US Cities.” Journal of Urban Economics.

2011. Hogan and Berry. “Racial and Ethnic Biases in Rental Housing: An Audit Study of Online Apartment Listings.” City & Community.

2012. Jacquemet and Yannelis. “Indiscriminate Discrimination: A Correspondence Tests for Ethnic Homophily in the Chicago Labor Market.” Labour Economics.

2012. Milkman, Akinola, and Chugh. “Temporal Distance and Discrimination: An Audit Study in Academia.” Psychological Science.

2014. Ewens, Tomlin, and Wang. “Statistical Discrimination or Prejudice? A Large Sample Field Experiment.” The Review of Economics and Statistics.

2014. Nunley, Pugh, Romero, and Seals. “Racial Discrimination in the Labor Market for Recent College Graduates: Evidence from a Field Experiment.” The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy.

2015. Darolia, Koedel, Martorell, Wilson, and Perez-Arce. “Race and Gender Effects on Employer Interest in Job Applicants: New Evidence from a Resume Field Experiment.” Applied Economics Letters.

2015. Gaddis. “Discrimination in the Credential Society: An Audit Study of Race and College Selectivity in the Labor Market.” Social Forces.

2015. Gaddis and Ghoshal. “Arab American Housing Discrimination, Ethnic Competition, and the Contact Hypothesis.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

2015. Sharma, Mitra, and Stano. “Insurance, Race/Ethnicity, and Sex in the Search for a New Physician.” Economics Letters.

2015. White, Nathan, and Faller. “What do I Need to Vote? Bureaucratic Discretion and Discrimination by Local Election Officials.” American Political Science Review.

2015. Wright, Wallace, Wisnesky, Donnelly, Missari, and Zozula. “Religion, Race, and Discrimination: A Field Experiment of How American Churches Welcome Newcomers.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

2016. Hanson, Hawley, Martin, and Liu. “Discrimination in Mortgage Lending: Evidence from a Correspondence Experiment.” Journal of Urban Economics.

2016. Neumark, Burn, and Button. “Experimental Age Discrimination Evidence and the Heckman Critique.” American Economic Review.

2017. Butler and Crabtree. “Moving Beyond Measurement: Adapting Audit Studies to Test Bias-Reducing Interventions.” Journal of Experimental Political Science.

2017. Edelman, Luca, and Svirsky. “Racial Discrimination in the Sharing Economy: Evidence from a Field Experiment.” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

2017. Einstein and Glick. “Does Race Affect Access to Government Services? An Experiment Exploring Street-Level Bureaucrats and Access to Public Housing.” American Journal of Political Science.

2017. Hanson. “Do College Admissions Counselors Discriminate? Evidence from a Correspondence-Based Field Experiment.” Economics of Education Review.

2018. Agan and Starr. “Ban the Box, Criminal Records, and Racial Discrimination: A Field Experiment.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

2018. Gorsuch and Rho. “Customer Prejudice and Salience: The Effect of the 2016 Election on Employment Discrimination.” Working paper.

2018. Murchie and Pang. “Rental Housing Discrimination Across Protected Classes: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment.” Regional Science and Urban Economics.

2018. Pedulla. “How Race and Unemployment Shape Labor Market Opportunities: Additive, Amplified, or Muted Effects?” Social Forces.

2018. Schwegman “Rental Market Discrimination Against Same-Sex Couples: Evidence From a Pairwise-Matched Email Correspondence Test.” Housing Policy Debate.

2019. Boyd-Swan and Herbst. “Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in the Labor Market for Child Care Teachers.” Educational Researcher.

2019. Fang, Guess, and Humphreys “Can the Government Deter Discrimination? Evidence from a Randomized Intervention in New York City.” Journal of Politics.

2019. Giulietti, Tonin, and Vlassopoulos. “Racial Discrimination in Local Public Services: A Field Experiment in the United States” Journal of the European Economic Association.

2019. Kugelmass. “‘Just the Type with whom I Like to Work’: Two Correspondence Field Experiments in an Online Mental Health Care Market.” Society and Mental Health.

2019. Leasure. “Misdemeanor Records and Employment Outcomes: An Experimental Study.” Crime & Delinquency.

2019. Mobasserti. “Race, Place, and Crime: How Violent Crime Events Affect Employment Discrimination.” American Journal of Sociology.

2019. Neumark, Burn, Button, and Cheras. “Do State Laws Protecting Older Workers from Discrimination Reduce Age Discrimination in Hiring? Evidence from a Field Experiment.” Journal of Law & Economics.

2020. Ameri, Roger, Schur, and Kruse. “No Room at the Inn? Disability Access in the New Sharing Economy.” Academy of Management Discoveries.

2020. Bennett. “Master’s for hire: Experimental evidence on employers’ perceptions of master’s degrees from for-profit institutions.” Working paper.

2020. Brown and Hilbig. “Locked Out of College: When Admissions Bureaucrats Do and Do Not Discriminate.” Working paper.

2020. Button, Dils, Harrell, Fumaro, and Schwegman. “Gender Identity, Race, and Ethnicity Discrimination in Access to Mental Health Care: Preliminary Evidence from a Multi-Wave Audit Field Experiment.” Working paper.

2020. Button and Waker. “Employment Discrimination against Indigenous Peoples in the United States: Evidence from a Field Experiment.” Labour Economics.

2020. Christensen, Sarmiento-Barbieri, and Timmins. “Housing Discrimination and the Toxics Exposure Gap in the United States: Evidence from the Rental Market.” The Review of Economics and Statistics.

2020. Gaddis. “A Field Experiment on Associate Degrees and Certificates: Statistical Discrimination, Stigma, Signal Boost, and Signal Saturation.” Working paper.

2020. Gaddis and Ghoshal. “Searching for a Roommate: A Correspondence Audit Examining Racial/Ethnic and Immigrant Discrimination among Millennials.” Socius.

2020. Ge, Knittel, MacKenzie, and Zoepf. “Racial Discrimination in Transportation Network Companies.” Journal of Public Economics.

2020. Henkels. “Housing Discrimination at the Intersection of Health Condition, Race, and Felony Status.” Thesis.

2020. Hughes, Gell-Redman, Crabtree, Krishnaswami, Rodenberger, and Monge. “Persistent Bias among Local Election Officials.” Journal of Experimental Political Science.

2020. Leasure and Kaminski. “The Impact of a Multiple Conviction Record on Hiring Outcomes.” Crime & Delinquency.

2020. Leasure and Zhang. “Women, Criminal Records, and Certificates of Relief: An Experimental Study.” Justice Evaluation Journal.

2020. Murchie, Pang, and Schwegman. “Can Information Help Lakisha and Jamal Find Housing? Evidence from a Low-Cost Experiment of Landlords.” Working paper.

2020. Yemane. “Cumulative Disadvantage? The Role of Race Compared to Ethnicity, Religion, and Non-White Phenotype in Explaining Hiring Discrimination in the U.S. Labour Market.” Research in Social Stratification and Mobility.

Forthcoming. Landgrave and Weller. “Do Name-based Treatments Violate Information Equivalence? Evidence from a Correspondence Audit Experiment” Political Analysis.

Forthcoming. Phillips. “Do Low-Wage Employers Discriminate Against Applicants with Long Commutes? Evidence from a Correspondence Experiment.” Journal of Human Resources.


Responded - Awaiting Data (2)

2018. Moore. “‘I Don’t Do Vouchers’: Experimental Evidence of Discrimination Against Housing Voucher Recipients Across Fourteen Metro Areas.” Working paper.

2019. Thornhill. “We Want Black Students, Just Not You: How White Admissions Counselors Screen Black Prospective Students.” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity.


Waiting on Response to Data Request (0)


Data Unavailable or Unusable (2)

2009. Kleykamp. “A Great Place to Start? The Effect of Prior Military Service on Hiring.” Armed Forces & Society.

2016. Deming, Yuchtman, Abulafi, Goldin, and Katz. “The Value of Postsecondary Credentials in the Labor Market: An Experimental Study.” American Economic Review. (Note: Original data with names / race destroyed.)


Does Not Meet Criteria or Does Not Apply for Other Reasons (11)

2007. Correll, Benard, Paik. “Getting a Job: Is There a Motherhood Penalty.” American Journal of Sociology.

2011. Butler and Broockman. “Do Politicians Racially Discriminate Against Constituents? A Field Experiment on State Legislators.” American Journal of Political Science. (Note: only uses 1 White and 1 Black name)

2013. Broockman. “Black Politicians Are More Intrinsically Motivated To Advance Blacks’ Interests: A Field Experiment Manipulating Political Incentives.” American Journal of Political Science. (Note: only uses 1 Black name)

2015. Grose, Malhotra, and van Houweling. “Explaining Explanations: How Legislators Explain their Policy Positions and How Citizens React.” American Journal of Political Science. (Note: White names only; unusual outcome variable)

2016. Janusz and Lajevardi. “The Political Marginalization of Latinos: Evidence from Three Field Experiments.” Working paper. (Note: only uses 1 White name per experiment)

2016. Kang, DeCelles, Tilcsik, and Jun. “Whitened Resumes: Race and Self-Presentation in the Labor Market.” Administrative Science Quarterly.

2018. Ameri, Schur, Adya, Bentley, McKay, and Kruse. “The Disability Employment Puzzle: A Field Experiment on Employer Hiring Behavior.” ILR Review. (Note: collinearity between names and treatment conditions)

2018. Mendez and Grose. “Doubling Down: Inequality in Responsiveness and the Policy Preferences of Elected Officials.” Legislative Studies Quarterly. (Note: only uses 1 White and 1 Latino name)

2020. Druckman and Shafranek. “The Intersection of Racial and Partisan Discrimination: Evidence from a Correspondence Study of Four-Year Colleges” The Journal of Politics. (Note: only uses 1 White and 1 Black name)

2020. Namingit, Blankenau, and Schwab. “Sick and tell: A field experiment analyzing the effects of an illness-related employment gap on the callback rate.” Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. (Note: collinearity between names and treatment conditions)

2020. Wisniewski and Walker. “Association of Simulated Patient Race/Ethnicity With Scheduling of Primary Care Appointments.” JAMA Network Open. (Note: Name selection non-random and unallowable IRB disclosure.)


Ignored or Declined Data Request (5)

2009. Berk. “Essays on Work and Education: Behind Bars and in the Free World.” Dissertation. (Note: ignored data request)

2009. Galgano. “Barriers to Reintegration: An Audit Study of the Impact of Race and Offender Status on Employment Opportunities for Women.” Social Thought & Research. (Note: ignored data request)

2015. Decker, Ortiz, Spohn, and Hedberg. “Criminal Stigma, Race, and Ethnicity: The Consequences of Imprisonment for Employment.” Journal of Criminal Justice. (Note: declined data request)

2020. Bergman and McFarlin. “Education For All? A Nationwide Audit Study of School Choice.” Working paper. (Note: declined data request)

2020. Cui, Li, and Zhang. “Reducing Discrimination with Reviews in the Sharing Economy: Evidence from Field Experiments on Airbnb.” Management Science. (Note: declined data request)

2020. Lennon. “How Do Online Degrees Affect Labor Market Prospects? Evidence from a Correspondence Audit Study.” ILR Review. (Note: declined data request)


An early analysis of partial data looks like this:

Figure - Predicted Black Response Rates in Employment Correspondence Audits by Name

Predicted Black Response Rates in Employment Correspondence Audits by Name