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Institutional Demand-Side Discrimination Against Women and the Human Capital Model


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  • David Colander
  • Joanna Wayland Woos


Human capital theorists claim that the gender wage gap is due in large part to supply-side factors. They base this claim on empirical evidence. This paper challenges the interpretation of that empirical evidence. It argues that that interpretation is based on an assumption of a simplified production system that rules out any consideration of institutionally-based demand-side discrimination. It argues that insiders have an incentive to choose production techniques that benefit themselves, and that their choices will bias measures of human capital in their favor. The paper then considers a specific case study - the undergraduate U.S. academic market - where such institutionally-based demand-side discrimination exists, and offers an institutional change which could work to offset it.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Feminist Economics.

Volume (Year): 3 (1997)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 53-64

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Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:3:y:1997:i:1:p:53-64

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Keywords: Human Capital; Discrimination; Academic Jobs; Institutions; Insiders;


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Cited by:
  1. Ann Mari May, 2006. "“Sweeping The Heavens For A Comet”: Women, The Language Of Political Economy, And Higher Education In The Us," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 625-640.
  2. Janet Spitz, 1999. "Human nature and judicial interpretation of equal employment law," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(7-8), pages 521-535.
  3. Angela Cipollone & Marcella Corsi & Carlo D'Ippoliti, 2011. "Knowledge and Job Opportunities in a Gender Perspective: Insights from Italy," DULBEA Working Papers 11-02, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. Yana van der Meulen Rodgers & Joseph Zveglich & Laura Wherry, 2006. "Gender Differences In Vocational School Training And Earnings Premiums In Taiwan," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 527-560.


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