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Job Discrimination, Market Forces and the Invisibility Hypothesis

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  • Paul R. Milgrom

Abstract

The Invisibility Hypothesis holds that the job skills of disadvantaged workers are not easily discovered by potential new employers, but that promotion enhances visibility and alleviates this problem. Then, at a competitive labor market equilibrium, firms profit by hiding talented disadvantaged workers in low level jobs. Consequently, those workers are paid less on average and promoted less often than others with the same education and ability. As a result of the inefficient and discriminatory wage and promotion policies, disadvantaged workers experience lower returns to investments in human capital than other workers.

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File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d07a/d0708-r.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 708R.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 1984
Date of revision: 1985
Publication status: Published in Quarterly Journal of Economics (August 1987), 102: 453-476
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:708r

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  1. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
  2. Lundberg, Shelly J & Startz, Richard, 1983. "Private Discrimination and Social Intervention in Competitive Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 340-47, June.
  3. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
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