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Mentoring and Diversity

Author

Listed:
  • Christopher Avery
  • Susan Athey
  • Peter Zemsky

Abstract

We study how diversity evolves at a firm with entry-level and upper-level employees who vary in ability and "type" (gender or ethnicity). The ability of entry-level employees is increased by mentoring. An employ receives more mentoring when more upper-level employees have the same type. Optimal promotions are biased by type, and this bias may favor either the minority or the majority. We characterize possible steady states, including a "glass ceiling," where the upper level remains less diverse than the entry level. A firm may have multiple steady states, whereby temporary affirmative-action policies have a long-run impact.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Avery & Susan Athey & Peter Zemsky, 2000. "Mentoring and Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 765-786, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:90:y:2000:i:4:p:765-786
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.90.4.765
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Stephen J. Spurr, 1990. "Sex Discrimination in the Legal Profession: A Study of Promotion," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(4), pages 406-417, July.
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    7. Coate, Stephen & Loury, Glenn C, 1993. "Will Affirmative-Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1220-1240, December.
    8. Kenneth Arrow, 1971. "The Theory of Discrimination," Working Papers 403, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts

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