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Employer Learning, Statistical Discrimination and Occupational Attainment

Author

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  • Altonjii, Joseph G.

    (Yale U)

Abstract

I examine the implications of employer learning and statistical discrimination for initial employment rates, wages, and occupational attainment and for wage growth and occupational change over a career using a model in which the sensitivity of productivity to worker skill is increasing in the skill requirements of the job and in which employers learn about worker skill more rapidly in high skill jobs. I show that statistical discrimination influences initial employment rates, wage levels and job type, and that employers' initial estimate of productivity influences wage growth even in an environment in which access to training is not an issue. The implication is that the market may be slow to learn that a worker is highly skilled if worker's best early job opportunity given the information available to employers is a low skill level job that reveals little about the worker's talent.

Suggested Citation

  • Altonjii, Joseph G., 2005. "Employer Learning, Statistical Discrimination and Occupational Attainment," Working Papers 3, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:yaleco:3
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    File URL: http://economics.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/Working-Papers/wp000/ddp0003.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kevin Lang, 1986. "A Language Theory of Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(2), pages 363-382.
    2. Altonji, Joseph G. & Blank, Rebecca M., 1999. "Race and gender in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 48, pages 3143-3259 Elsevier.
    3. O'Flaherty, Brendan & Siow, Aloysius, 1995. "Up-or-Out Rules in the Market for Lawyers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 709-735, October.
    4. Lundberg, Shelly J & Startz, Richard, 1983. "Private Discrimination and Social Intervention in Competitive Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 340-347, June.
    5. Fabian Lange, 2005. "The Returns to Schooling and Ability During the Early Career: Evidence on Employer Learning and Post-School Investment," 2005 Meeting Papers 253, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Coate, Stephen & Loury, Glenn C, 1993. "Will Affirmative-Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1220-1240, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Francesco Cinnirella & Joachim Winter, 2009. "Size Matters! Body Height and Labor Market Discrimination: A Cross-European Analysis," CESifo Working Paper Series 2733, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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