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The Determinants of Perceived Underpayment: The Role of Racial Comparisons


  • Mary Hampton
  • John Heywood


Using a sample of young employed physicians, the determinants of perceived underpayment are examined for both white and minority workers. The examination confirms the importance of earnings comparisons within racial groups but also finds a substantial role for comparisons between racial groups. Workers apparently perceive racial earnings differences (as measured by economists) and build them into an assessment of the fairness of their labor market treatment. This finding emerges for both whites and minorities and occurs in a sample in which the pattern of earnings indicates a modest minority earnings premium.

Suggested Citation

  • Mary Hampton & John Heywood, 1999. "The Determinants of Perceived Underpayment: The Role of Racial Comparisons," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 57(2), pages 141-155.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:57:y:1999:i:2:p:141-155 DOI: 10.1080/00346769900000032

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    Cited by:

    1. Shields, Michael A & Price, Stephen Wheatley, 2002. "Racial Harassment, Job Satisfaction and Intentions to Quit: Evidence from the British Nursing Profession," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(274), pages 295-226, May.
    2. Michael A. Shields & Melanie E. Ward, "undated". "Improving Nurse Retention in the British National Health Service: The Impact of Job Satisfaction on Intentions to Quit," Discussion Papers in Public Sector Economics 00/3, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    3. Paul, Maureen, 2006. "A cross-section analysis of the fairness-of-pay perception of UK employees," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 243-267, April.
    4. Manuel Carvajal, 2006. "Economic grounds for affirmative action: The evidence on architects and engineers in South Florida," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 64(4), pages 515-538.
    5. Rob Euwals & Melanie Ward, "undated". "The Remuneration of British Academics," Discussion Papers in Public Sector Economics 00/7, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    6. Tortia, Ermanno C., 2008. "Worker well-being and perceived fairness: Survey-based findings from Italy," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 2080-2094, October.
    7. Euwals, Rob & Ward-Warmedinger, Melanie, 2000. "What Matters Most: Teaching or Research? Empirical Evidence on the Remuneration of British Academics," CEPR Discussion Papers 2628, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Euwals, Rob & Ward-Warmedinger, Melanie E., 2000. "The Remuneration of British Academics," IZA Discussion Papers 178, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Ermanno Tortia, 2006. "Worker satisfaction and perceived fairness: result of a survey in public, and non-profit organizations," Department of Economics Working Papers 0604, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.


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