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Discrimination, performance and career progression in Australian public sector labor markets


  • Doucouliagos, Chris
  • Hone, Phillip
  • Ulubasoglu, Mehmet


While promotion is an important mechanism for allocating labor within organizations, relatively little is known about the determinants of promotion in the highly diverse and traditionally heavily regulated Australian labor markets. This study uses unique data from the Victorian Public Sector Census 2004 to identify the extent and nature of bias in the promotion process. Specifically, we use the promotion histories of 16,675 public sector employees to investigate the existence of discrimination in promotion on the basis of gender, disability and cultural diversity. We find that some differences exist in the rate of promotion on the basis of gender, and to a lesser extent, of birthplace, but, importantly, most of these are due to differences in endowments. There are effectively no differences in promotion on the basis of disability. We find that the main driver of promotion in Victorian public sector labor markets is worker effort and performance. Compared to labor markets elsewhere, the Australian public sector is relatively free of discrimination in promotions.

Suggested Citation

  • Doucouliagos, Chris & Hone, Phillip & Ulubasoglu, Mehmet, 2006. "Discrimination, performance and career progression in Australian public sector labor markets," Working Papers eco_2006_07, Deakin University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:dkn:econwp:eco_2006_07

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    labor markets; discrimination; public sector; promotion; career progression;

    JEL classification:

    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • J48 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Particular Labor Markets; Public Policy


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