Approaches for Dealing with Small Sample Sizes in Employment Discrimination Litigation

By Piette, Michael J.; White, Paul F. | Journal of Forensic Economics, Winter 1999 | Go to article overview

Approaches for Dealing with Small Sample Sizes in Employment Discrimination Litigation


Piette, Michael J., White, Paul F., Journal of Forensic Economics


I. Introduction

The statistical analysis of allegations of employment discrimination has become increasingly more commonplace in the courtroom during the last two decades. Whether a result of claims of discrimination on the basis of race, gender, or national origin (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act), age (Age Discrimination in Employment Act) or disability (Americans with Disability Act), statistical support of the alleged discrimination is often an integral part of the litigation process. Statistics are also utilized in an increasing proportion of the smaller, single-plaintiff or multiple-plaintiff suits where the plaintiff(s) has claimed that a "pattern and practice" of discrimination has occurred. There is a rich literature focusing on the use of statistical analysis as applied to employment discrimination. That literature includes the broad-base reviews found in the major economics journals and texts, the merging of law and economics/statistics contained in the law reviews, and the articles of a more applied nature published in the forensic economics journals.

The use of statistical analysis outside of the class action or large, multiple plaintiff arena presents particular problems for economists and applied statisticians, many of which have not been addressed in the forensics economics literature in a systematic fashion. In particular, a main problem area concerns the reliability of statistical inference in allegations of discrimination in a selection process (hire, promotion, termination) as the sample size or group of individuals in the analysis becomes smaller and smaller. The purpose of this paper is to discuss several techniques for analyzing allegations of employment discrimination with small sample sizes.

The paper is organized as follows. Part II illustrates the methodological approach to a typical employment discrimination case. In Part III, the mathematics of analyzing employment discrimination is discussed and an example of an employment selection decision is provided. Part IV indicates several of the approaches that have been used in actual litigation for addressing the small sample size problem. Part V discusses the difference between "statistical significance" and "practical significance," an important consideration in this area. Summary and concluding comments are offered in Part VI of the paper.

II. The Methodology of Analyzing Allegations of Employment Discrimination

In an employment or labor market context, discrimination is typically associated with the "selection process" or the "selection decision." Within a given selection process, discrimination is present when the process confers benefits (or imposes burdens) on one group but not on the other, given that both groups are similarly situated with respect to all salient characteristics except race, age, gender, or other attributes protected under the law.(1) Selection decisions are made at the time an individual is recruited or subsequently hired, during the course of his or her employment, and at the point of termination.

For example, if there is bias in a promotion decision, equally productive men and women with similar preferences for promotional opportunities will not be promoted at similar rates relative to their representation in the prepromotional pool. In other words, the representation of men and women after a promotion selection will not be approximately equal to their representation in the pool of promotion candidates. Every selection process has two sides regardless of the type of selection process under consideration--those available for selection (the input side) and those selected (the output side).

The first step in the analysis of employment discrimination is to model the employment process in question. This often involves the identification of the appropriate employee pools, which leads to the construction of a benchmark. A benchmark is a reference point to which selection events are compared. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Approaches for Dealing with Small Sample Sizes in Employment Discrimination Litigation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.