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IDEAS

Social Studies: The family penalty, the power of Black policing, cold greeting

A new study indicates it may be better for job candidates to say they've been unemployed for a while without revealing why.
A new study indicates it may be better for job candidates to say they've been unemployed for a while without revealing why.thanksforbuying - stock.adobe.com

No job for “family reasons”

In a survey experiment, Americans were asked to evaluate applicants for a job at a marketing and analytics company. Applicants described as “unemployed for the past year; otherwise was working since college” were less likely to be chosen than continuously employed job seekers. But applicants described as “taking time off work for family reasons for the past year; otherwise was working since college” were even less likely to be chosen. Moreover, positive evaluations of previous job performance and coworker interaction eliminated the penalty for applicants who were unemployed but not for applicants unemployed for “family reasons.”

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Weisshaar, K., “Employment Lapses and Subsequent Hiring Disadvantages: An Experimental Approach Examining Types of Discrimination and Mechanisms,” Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World (June 2021).

Community policing

An analysis of crime data reveals that Black offenders are much less likely to use guns in cities where the police department has a higher percentage of Black officers. Researchers suggest offenders may feel less compelled to use violence to “express discontentment” or “achieve restitution” if they see the authorities as more legitimate.

Ammons-Blanfort, C. et al., “Self-Help and Black Firearm Crime,” Crime & Delinquency (forthcoming).

Unwelcoming climate

In an experiment during the summer at various train stations in Germany, a woman of German or Middle Eastern ethnicity (the latter wearing a hijab) approached a bench where people were waiting and dropped some fruit, seemingly by accident. When the temperature was mild, there was no difference in the likelihood of receiving help from a bystander. However, as the temperature rose, the German woman was increasingly more likely to receive help than the Middle Eastern woman.

Choi, D. et al., “Temperature and Outgroup Discrimination,” Political Science Research and Methods (forthcoming).