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Discrimination as a Competitive Device: The Case of Local Television News

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  • Myers Caitlin Knowles

    () (Middlebury College)

Abstract

Previous studies of discrimination have explored the role that customer prejudice may play in lowering the marginal revenue product of minority employees and, hence, lowering their equilibrium wages. I observe that variation in these types of customer preferences creates an incentive for firms to respond strategically by engaging in product differentiation via the characteristics of their employees. Analysis of data collected for local television news stations supports the predictions of this model of "competitive discrimination." There is a negative correlation between the racial, gender, and age compositions of competing news stations. Moreover, Nielsen ratings for station broadcasts indicate that viewers of stations with more black employees are less discriminatory than viewers of stations with fewer blacks. A similar result is found when examining the age and gender composition of employees.

Suggested Citation

  • Myers Caitlin Knowles, 2008. "Discrimination as a Competitive Device: The Case of Local Television News," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-28, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:8:y:2008:i:1:n:28
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2010. "What Drives Media Slant? Evidence From U.S. Daily Newspapers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(1), pages 35-71, January.
    2. Melissa S. Kearney & Phillip B. Levine, 2015. "Media Influences on Social Outcomes: The Impact of MTV's 16 and Pregnant on Teen Childbearing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(12), pages 3597-3632, December.
    3. Friebel, Guido & Heinz, Matthias, 2014. "Media slant against foreign owners: Downsizing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 97-106.
    4. Matthew Parrett, 2011. "Customer Discrimination in Restaurants: Dining Frequency Matters," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 87-112, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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