Tall or Taller, Pretty or Prettier: Is Discrimination Absolute or Relative?
AbstractUsing several microeconomic data sets from the United States and the Netherlands, and the examples of height and beauty, this study examines whether: 1) Absolute or relative differences in a characteristic are what affect labor-market and other outcomes; and 2) The effects of a characteristic change when all agents acquire more of it—become taller or better-looking. Confronted with a choice among individuals, decision-makers respond more to absolute than to relative differences among them. Also, an increase in the mean of a characteristic’s distribution does not alter market responses to differences in it.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18123.
Date of creation: Jun 2012
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Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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Other versions of this item:
- Hamermesh, Daniel S., 2012. "Tall or Taller, Pretty or Prettier: Is Discrimination Absolute or Relative?," IZA Discussion Papers 6579, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
- J78 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Public Policy (including comparable worth)
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-06-13 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEM-2012-06-13 (Demographic Economics)
- NEP-LAB-2012-06-13 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-LMA-2012-06-13 (Labor Markets - Supply, Demand, & Wages)
- NEP-LTV-2012-06-13 (Unemployment, Inequality & Poverty)
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