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Competition And Gender Prejudice: Are Discriminatory Employers Doomed To Fail?

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  • Andrea Weber
  • Christine Zulehner

Abstract

According to Becker's famous theory on discrimination (Gary Becker, [Becker, Gary S., 1957], The Economics of Discrimination, University of Chicago Press), entrepreneurs with a strong prejudice against female workers forgo profits by submitting to their tastes. In a competitive market their firms lack efficiency and are therefore forced to leave. We present new empirical evidence for this prediction by studying the survival of start-up firms in longitudinal matched employer–employee data. We find that firms with strong preferences for discrimination approximated by a low share of female employees relative to the industry average have significantly shorter survival rates. This is especially relevant for firms starting out with female shares in the lower tail of the distribution. Competition at the industry level additionally reduces firm survival and accelerates the rate at which prejudiced firms are weeded out. We also find evidence for employer learning as highly discriminatory start-up firms that manage to survive submit to market powers and increase their female workforce over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea Weber & Christine Zulehner, 2014. "Competition And Gender Prejudice: Are Discriminatory Employers Doomed To Fail?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 492-521, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:12:y:2014:i:2:p:492-521
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/jeea.12048
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Fackler & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2013. "Establishment exits in Germany: the role of size and age," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 683-700, October.
    2. Volker Ziemann, 2015. "Towards more gender equality in Austria," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1273, OECD Publishing.
    3. repec:wfo:monber:y:2017:i:9:p:713-725 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Fackler, Daniel, 2014. "Establishment survival in East and West Germany: A comparative analysis," Discussion Papers 90, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    5. Boris Hirsch & Michael Oberfichtner & Claus Schnabel, 2014. "The levelling effect of product market competition on gender wage discrimination," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-14, December.
    6. N. N., 2015. "WIFO-Monatsberichte, issue 11/2015," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 88(11), November.
    7. Krause, Annabelle & Rinne, Ulf & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2012. "Anonymous job applications of fresh Ph.D. economists," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 441-444.
    8. Sarra Ben Yahmed, 2012. "Gender Wage Discrimination and Trade Openness," AMSE Working Papers 1233, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France.
    9. Blasco, Sylvie & Pertold-Gebicka, Barbara, 2013. "Employment policies, hiring practices and firm performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 12-24.
    10. Colussi, Tommaso & Romano, Livio, 2016. "Is There a Preferential Treatment for Locals in the Labor Market? Evidence from Takeovers," IZA Discussion Papers 10418, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Yahmed, Sarra Ben, 2017. "Gender wage discrimination and trade openness. Prejudiced employers in an open industry," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-047, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    12. Gee, Laura Katherine, 2016. "The More You Know: Information Effects on Job Application Rates in a Large Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 10372, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Martin Falk & Werner Hölzl & Harald Oberhofer, 2015. "The Importance of Firm-Level Data for Empirical Research and Economic Policy Consulting," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 88(11), pages 845-857, November.
    14. repec:wfo:monber:y:2017:i:9 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance

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