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Can Workers' Expectations Account for the Persistence of Discrimination?

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  • Filippin, Antonio

    ()
    (University of Milan)

Abstract

The paper explains how workers' expectations of being discriminated against can be self-confirming, accounting for the persistence of unequal outcomes in the labour market even beyond the causes that originally generated them. The theoretical framework used is a two-stage game of incomplete information in which one employer promotes only one among two workers after having observed their productivity, which is used as a signal of their ability. Workers who expect to be discriminated against exert a lower effort on average, because of a lower expected return, thereby being promoted less frequently even by unbiased employers. This implies that achievements of minority groups may not improve when the fraction of discriminatory employers actually decreases, and such a mechanism is robust both to trial work periods and to affirmative actions like quotas.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4490.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4490

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Related research

Keywords: discrimination; workers’ expectations; self-confirming beliefs;

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Cited by:
  1. Vincent Corluy & Gerlinde Verbist, 2014. "Can education bridge the gap? Education and the employment position of immigrants in Belgium," ImPRovE Working Papers, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp 14/02, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  2. Stijn BAERT & Bart COCKX, 2013. "Pure Ethnic Gaps in Educational Attainment and School to Work Transitions. When Do They Arise?," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2013005, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  3. Antonio FILIPPIN & Francesco GUALA, 2011. "Costless discrimination and unequal achievements in a labour market experiment," Departmental Working Papers, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano 2011-30, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.

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