Research

Working Paper
Chika O. Okafor. Working Paper. “All Things Equal? Social Networks as a Mechanism for Discrimination”. arXiv PreprintAbstract
I study labor markets in which firms can hire via job referrals. Despite full equality in the initial time period (e.g., equal ability, employment, wages, and network structure), unequal wages and employment still emerge over time between majority and minority workers, due to homophily—the well-documented tendency for people to associate more with others similar to themselves. This inequality can be mitigated by minority workers having more social ties or a “stronger-knit” network. Hence, this paper uncovers a direct mechanism for discriminatory outcomes that neither relies on past inequality nor on discriminatory motives (i.e., neither of the prevailing economic models of taste-based and statistical discrimination). These findings introduce multiple policy implications, including disproving a primary justification for "colorblind" policies—namely disproving the position that such policies are inherently merit-enhancing.
socialnetworkdiscrimination.pdf
2015
Chika O. Okafor. 2015. “Returning to Eden: Toward a Faith-Based Framing of the Environmental Movement.” Villanova Environmental Law Journal, 26, 215. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This article proposes a major shift in the messaging of the mainstream environmental movement. Instead of relying on logic, the mainstream movement must also cultivate passion. Instead of only appealing to the mind, it must also tap into the heart. Instead of “convincing” people, it must also learn to inspire them. By synthesizing concepts from various academic disciplines, including sociology, economics, history, and theology, this article argues that what inspires people is a moral imperative. The best way for the environmental movement to create the essential moral imperative is through religious justifications.