of the process being studied to justify the necessary assumptions. (from Chapter 7)

Recommendation: Public and private funding agencies should support focused studies of decision processes, such as the behavior of firms in hiring, training, and promoting employees. The results of such studies can guide the development of improved models and data for statistical analysis of differential outcomes for racial and ethnic groups in employment and other areas. (Recommendation 7.1)

Recommendation: Public agencies should assist in the evaluation of natural experiments by collecting data that can be used to evaluate the effect of antidiscrimination policy changes on groups covered by the changes as well as groups not covered. (Recommendation 7.2)

Indicators of Discrimination from Surveys and Administrative Records

Both self-reports of racial attitudes and perceived experiences of discrimination in surveys and reports of discriminatory events in administrative records can contribute to understanding the extent of racial discrimination. Survey data typically cannot directly measure the prevalence of actual discrimination as opposed to reports of perceived discrimination, but they can provide useful supporting evidence. Perceived discrimination may overreport or underreport discrimination assessed by other methods. As expressions of prejudice and discriminatory behavior change over time and become more subtle, new or revised survey questions on racial attitudes and perceived experiences of discrimination may be necessary. Longitudinal and repeated cross-sectional data, including continuous and new measures, are important to illuminate trends and changes in patterns of racially discriminatory attitudes and behaviors among and toward various groups. Such data are also vital for studies of cumulative disadvantage. Administrative reports of discrimination (e.g., equal employment opportunity complaints) may also be useful for research, although the lack of completeness and reliability of such reports can limit their usefulness.

Recommendation: To understand changes in racial attitudes and reported perceptions of discrimination over time, public and private funding agencies should continue to support the collection of rich survey data:

  • The General Social Survey, which since 1972 has been the leading source of repeated cross-sectional data on trends in racial attitudes and perceptions of racial discrimination, merits continued support

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