Statistical Discrimination in Employment Academic Article uri icon


  • The phenomenon of statistical discrimination may take on increasing importance in the future as “traditional” prejudice-based discrimination slowly fades. This article considers how statistical discrimination compares with perspectives on discrimination in sociology, economics, and law. Statistical discrimination fits well with mainstream perspectives in economics, suggesting it is likely to be a common practice and endure even as racial prejudice declines. Statistical discrimination is less central in sociological perspectives on discrimination because they tend to focus on prejudice-based discrimination, ethnic conflict and stratification, and how ethnic group interests are embedded in social institutions. In the area of law, statistical discrimination is treated differently in different situations—sometimes allowable, other times prohibited. The authors note some characteristics of statistical discrimination that set it apart from other forms of discrimination and consider whether standard policies aimed at reducing racial discrimination in employment are likely to be effective in combating statistical discrimination.

published proceedings

  • American Behavioral Scientist

author list (cited authors)

  • Baumle, A. K., & Fossett, M

citation count

  • 26

complete list of authors

  • Baumle, Amanda K||Fossett, Mark

publication date

  • May 2005