Naming, Blaming, and Calculating: Understanding Who Files Employment Discrimination Claims at the EEOC Restricted; Files Only

Morrison, Bethany Nanamaker (Summer 2019)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/5425kb91s?locale=en
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Abstract

I explore the rates of charges filed for employment discrimination on the basis of race at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission between 1992 and 2013. I develop a theory of legal mobilization of private individuals for public policy enforcement, combining insights from the seminal Naming, Claiming, and Blaming theory about the formation of disputes, theories of legal mobilization to bring about policy change, and theories of the micropolitics of legal mobilization. I conclude that Perceived Discrimination combined with Support Structure for Legal Mobilization will increase the rate of EEOC charges filed. Similarly, Perceived Discrimination combined with liberal adjudicators in the EEOC and the federal district courts will lead to higher rates of charge filing. From national surveys querying participants about their personal experiences with racial discrimination in the workplace, I estimate perceptions of racial discrimination in the workplace among Black, White, and Hispanic populations. Among Blacks, I find that Perceived Discrimination is lowest in the Southeast and highest in low-population rural states with largely White populations. Among Whites, Perceived Discrimination is highest in the Southeast. From observable indicators of the concept, I develop a Support Structure for Legal Mobilization index. Support Structure for Legal Mobilization is highest in coastal states and in states where United States Circuit Courts of Appeal are head-quartered. With these new quantitative measurement strategies for key variables, I empirically tested the theory explaining rates of charges filed. I unexpectedly found that, in the absence of Support Structure for Legal Mobilization, Perceived Discrimination has a strong negative effect on the filing rates among Blacks. While the interaction term was positive and met some conventions for statistical significance, Support Structure for Legal Mobilization only mitigated an negative effect. Perceived Discrimination among Whites, however, did have a positive effect on charges filed, but the effect was weakened in the presence of Support Structure for Legal Mobilization. The models explaining filing among Hispanics did not find support in the data.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

1.1 The Politics of Legal Mobilization for Policy Enforcement. . . . . . . . . 1

1.2 The Case of Employment Discrimination in the United States: 1992-2013 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

1.3 Overview of Dissertation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

2 A Theory of Private Citizen Rights Claiming . . . . . . . . 15

2.1 The Perceived Discrimination Condition. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

2.1.1 Naming (Noticing) the event . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

2.1.2 Blaming someone (else) for the event . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

2.1.3 Claiming a remedy for the event . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

2.2 The Rational Choice Framework of Claimant Decision-making . . . . . . 24

2.2.1 Plaintiffs decide to file claims based on a rational cost-benefit analysis of the potential outcomes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

2.2.2 The outcomes of adjudication are the determined through a factfinding stage and a rule-application stage.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

2.2.3 The facts and the rules are determined, in part, by extra-legal factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

2.2.4 Determinants of The Quality of a Party’s Legal Team . . . . . . . 31 2.2.5 The Ideology of Adjudicators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

2.3 Empirical Expectations of the Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

2.3.1 Conditional Hypotheses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

2.3.2 Empirical Challenges: Aggregating Decisions to Claim. . . . . . . 40

2.3.3 Moving Forward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

3 Measuring perceptions of discrimination . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

3.1 Past Measures of Perceived Discrimination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

3.2 Collecting and Preparing the Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

3.3 Initial Exploration of the Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

3.4 Model Specification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

3.4.1 Individual-level Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

3.4.2 Post-Stratification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

3.5 Results of Model after Post-Stratification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

3.6 Validity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

3.7 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76

4 Measuring support structure for legal mobilization . . . . 85

4.1 Defining Support Structure for Legal Mobilization . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85

4.2 Existing Measures and the Concept in the Literature . . . . . . . . . . . 89

4.3 Quantifiable Indicators of Support Structure for Legal Mobilization . . . 92

4.3.1 Minority Rights Organizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92

4.3.2 Willing and Able Attorneys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95

4.3.3 Financial Support (Legal Aid) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .103

4.3.4 The indicators variables in summation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .108

4.4 Exploring the Assumption of Unidimensionality . . . . . . . . . . . . . .111

4.5 An Index of Support Structure of Legal Mobilization . . . . . . . . . . .118

4.6 Validity of the measurement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .125

4.6.1 Convergent Validity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .126

5 Empirical Investigation of the Theory of Legal Mobilization for Private Policy Enforcement . . . . . . . . . . . . .131

5.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .131

5.2 Data. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .131

5.2.1 Dependent Variable: EEOC Claims per Capita. . . . . . . . . . .131

5.2.2 Key Independent Variables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .134

5.2.3 Independent Variable: Institutional Ideology . . . . . . . . . . . .134

5.2.4 Controlling for Observed Racial Disparities in Employment . . . .136

5.2.5 Other Control Variables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .137

5.3 The Hypotheses and Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .138

5.3.1 Results and Discussion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .139

5.4 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .149

6 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .150

6.1 A Theory of Legal Mobilization of Private Policy Enforcers. . . . . . . .150

6.2 Findings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .154

6.3 In Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .157

A Appendix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .160

A.1 Personal Experiences with Racial Discrimination Questions from Polls .160

A.2 Bayesian Measurement Model for support structure for legal mobilization 165

A.3 Alternative Model for Ideology Interaction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .170

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