Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Administration


Leonard Lopoo


discrimination, labor, race, sports participation

Subject Categories

Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Discrimination contributes to gaps in employment between Whites and Blacks and increases racial inequality. Young Blacks, ages 18 to 19, are twice more likely to be unemployed compared to Whites (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015). This dissertation is the first study, to my knowledge, to rely on an experimental design to examine whether participation in high school sports affects labor market discrimination. This dissertation uses a correspondence study in which 6,000 fictional resumes are sent to real job openings in Chicago, Dallas, and New York. Call-backs are recorded, and any differences in call-back rates are considered evidence of discrimination. All resume characteristics are randomly assigned, and race is signaled through names. Results suggest that participation in high school sports has a positive effect on call-back rates. The effect of sports participation is particularly beneficial to Black applicants, reducing some of the discrimination Black applicants experience in the labor market. This result is consistent with theories of statistical discrimination.


Open Access