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Don't demotivate, discriminate

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  • Jurjen J.A. Kamphorst

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Otto H. Swank

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

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    Abstract

    This paper offers a new theory of discrimination in the workplace. We consider a manager who has to assign two tasks to two employees. The manager has superior information about the employees' abilities. We show that besides an equilibrium where the manager does not discriminate, equilibria exist where the manager discriminates in favor of the employee whom the employees expect to be favored. The manager, who has no taste for discrimination, discriminates in order to avoid demotivating the 'favorite'. We show that the non-discriminatory equilibrium is unstable. Yet the manager would prefer to commit not to discriminate.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 14-017/VII.

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    Date of creation: 31 Jan 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20140017

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    Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

    Related research

    Keywords: discrimination; confidence management; Bayesian games;

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    References

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    1. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
    2. Paul R. Milgrom, 1984. "Job Discrimination, Market Forces and the Invisibility Hypothesis," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 708R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised 1985.
    3. Roland BĂ©nabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
    4. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-64, October.
    5. Larry Samuelson & George J. Mailath & Avner Shaked, 2000. "Endogenous Inequality in Integrated Labor Markets with Two-Sided Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 46-72, March.
    6. Marcin P?ski & Bal?zs Szentes, 2013. "Spontaneous Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2412-36, October.
    7. Cecilia Rouse & Claudia Goldin, 2000. "Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of "Blind" Auditions on Female Musicians," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 715-741, September.
    8. Akerlof, George A, 1985. "Discriminatory, Status-based Wages among Tradition-oriented, Stochastically Trading Coconut Producers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 265-76, April.
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