Sanaz Mobasseri (Boston University)


Wednesday, December 9, 2020, 4:00pm to 5:30pm



Asymmetric Peer Effects: How White Co-Workers Shape Black Turnover (Co-authored with Elizabeth Linos and Nina Roussille)

This study examines how working with white co-workers affects turnover rates for black women and men in a large professional services firm. Black employees are 9 percentage points more likely to turnover relative to similar white employees in the same office, whose average turnover rate is 56%. Drawing on conditional random assignment to projects and co-workers for over 9,000 newly hired employees in the U.S., we find that a one standard deviation (20%) increase in the percentage of white co-workers increases turnover for black women (but not black men, other non-white, or white employees) by 16 percentage points. Additional results suggest that when black women are assigned to projects with more white co-workers, they receive more negative performance evaluations; evaluators are more likely to identify them as “at risk of low performance” and are less willing to “always want the [given employee] on their team.” Our findings imply that the racial composition of co-workers may differentially affect black women and men, and more than other non-white employees.

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