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What happens when resumes for two qualified candidates land on a hiring manager’s desk, but one has a white-sounding name at the top and the other person is perceived to be Black? The supposedly white candidates get significantly more interest, according to research by Chicago Booth’s Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan.

This may reflect overt racism. But even hiring managers who are personally committed to diversity can display implicit bias. Chicago Booth’s Jane L. Risen has demonstrated that people who would otherwise admit that racism is a societal problem might deny it when an implicit bias is triggered through brief exposure to certain information.

How do we root out implicit bias? Chicago Booth’s Devin G. Pope suggests shining a light on it could help. After NBA referees were shown their racial bias in foul calls, biased calls declined, suggesting that bias isn’t a fixed trait. But as Bertrand has noted, more research is needed on how to address discrimination effectively.

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