The Hidden Gender Restriction: The Need for Proper Controls When Testing for Racial Discrimination

  • Alexander Cavallo
  • Hazem El-Abbadi
  • Randal Heeb


In Chapter 14 of The Bell Curve, Herrnstein and Murray (H&M) examine the earnings gap between blacks and whites.1 In one of the most striking and provocative findings in their book, they conclude that this gap results not from racial discrimination, as is often assumed, but rather it stems from an inherent difference in intellectual ability, as measured by AFQT.* H&M find no difference in earnings between blacks and whites after taking into account AFQT, age, and a measure of parental socioeconomic status (SES). They report, “[After controlling for age, education, and parental SES,]… black wages are still only 84 percent of white wages, again suggesting continuing racial discrimination.And yet, controlling just for [AFQT],ignoring both education and socio-economic background, raises average black wage to 98 percent of the wage…”(p.324)


Racial Discrimination Wage Differential Black Female Annual Earning Earning Differential 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Cavallo
  • Hazem El-Abbadi
  • Randal Heeb

There are no affiliations available

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