Diversity in the Workplace
AbstractWe study a model where an employer, trying to fill a vacancy, engages in optimal sequential search by drawing from two subpopulations of candidates who differ in their "discourse systems": during an interview, a minority candidate with a discourse system not shared with the employer conveys a noisier unbiased signal of ability than does a majority candidate. We show that, when the employer is "selective," minority candidates are underrepresented in the permanent workforce, fired at greater rates, and underrepresented among initial hires, even though the employer has no taste for discrimination and the populations are alike in their average ability. Furthermore, workplace diversity is increased if: (1) the cost of firing is reduced, (2) the cost of interviewing is increased, (3) the opportunity cost of leaving the position unfilled is increased, or (4) the prior probability that a candidate can perform the job is increased. Indeed, if the prior probability is sufficiently high, or the cost of firing sufficiently low, then minority candidates may be overrepresented in the permanent workforce.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 06/237.
Date of creation: 01 Oct 2006
Date of revision:
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Other versions of this item:
- D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search, Learning, and Information
- J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
- M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
- M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions
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