International Statistical Review

Statistical Issues Arising in Disparate Impact Cases and the Use of the Expectancy Curve in Assessing the Validity of Pre-Employment Tests

Joseph L. Gastwirth, Weiwen Miao, and Gang Zheng

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Disparate impact cases concern the potential adverse effect seemingly neutral employment practices, such as passing a pre-employment test or possessing a fixed level of education, have on minority applicants. Their purpose is to eliminate discrimination by subterfuge, i.e., imposing a requirement that eliminates many minority individuals who could do the job but who do not meet the requirement. When a significantly higher fraction of applicants from minority groups fail the requirement compared to majority applicants, the requirement needs to be shown to be job-related. Statistical techniques used at the various stages of a disparate impact claim are described. Properties of the expectancy curve, which describes the utility of a pre-employment test and helps in defining a band of scores defining "equivalently skilled" applicants are discussed.

Article information

Internat. Statist. Rev., Volume 71, Number 3 (2003), 565-580.

First available in Project Euclid: 21 October 2003

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Zentralblatt MATH identifier

Banding Correlation Disparate impact Expectancy curve Grouping Pseudo-likelihood Total gain


Gastwirth, Joseph L.; Miao, Weiwen; Zheng, Gang. Statistical Issues Arising in Disparate Impact Cases and the Use of the Expectancy Curve in Assessing the Validity of Pre-Employment Tests. Internat. Statist. Rev. 71 (2003), no. 3, 565--580.

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