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Divide and Conquer: Microfoundations of a Marxian Theory of Wage Discrimination

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  • John E. Roemer

Abstract

Microfoundations for a divide-and-conquer model of wage discrimination are provided by positing that workers' psychologies permit racial integration of firms to weaken workers' unity and hence reduce their bargaining power against employers. In this bargaining -- as opposed to competitive -- model of wage determination, there are discriminatory equilibria at which both white and black workers are worse off and employers are better off than would be the case without worker dissension. Furthermore, owing to the bargaining structure, market forces cannot unravel the discriminatory wage bargain.

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  • John E. Roemer, 1979. "Divide and Conquer: Microfoundations of a Marxian Theory of Wage Discrimination," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(2), pages 695-705, Autumn.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:10:y:1979:i:autumn:p:695-705
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    Cited by:

    1. Dasgupta, Indraneel, 2009. "'Living' wage, class conflict and ethnic strife," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 750-765, November.
    2. Patrick Mason, 1992. "The divide-and-conquer and employer/ employee models of discrimination: Neoclassical competition as a familial defect," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 73-89, June.
    3. Mick Brookes & Timothy Hinks & Duncan Watson, 2001. "Comparisons in Gender Wage Differentials and Discrimination between Germany and the United Kingdom," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 15(3), pages 393-414, September.
    4. Spencer, David A, 2000. "The Demise of Radical Political Economics? An Essay on the Evolution of a Theory of Capitalist Production," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(5), pages 543-564, September.
    5. Skatun, John Douglas, 1998. "Divide the hours and conquer the surplus: part-time workers and pay," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 235-242, November.
    6. Sripad Motiram, 2010. "Incomplete Contracts, Incentives and Economic Power," Working Papers id:3123, eSocialSciences.

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