IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/iza/izadps/dp1555.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Using Matched Employer-Employee Data to Study Labor Market Discrimination

Author

Listed:
  • Hellerstein, Judith K.

    () (University of Maryland)

  • Neumark, David

    () (University of California, Irvine)

Abstract

Wage gaps between individuals of difference races, sexes, and ethnicities have been documented and replicated extensively, and have generated a long history in labor economics research of empirical tests for labor market discrimination. The most widely-used approach to test for labor market discrimination is based on wage regressions estimated at the level of individual workers, with the estimate of discrimination inferred from the residual race, sex, or ethnic group differential in wages that remains unexplained after including a wide array of proxies for productivity. What is absent from the residual wage approach – and in our view leaves the approach vulnerable to being regarded as uninformative regarding discrimination – is any directly observable measure of productivity with which to adjust differentials in wages in trying to infer whether a particular group suffers from discrimination. The ideal solution would be individual-level productivity data that can be compared with wages. Any of the variables that differ across groups and are unobserved in the residual wage regression approach should affect wages and productivity equally, and hence not bias the test. However, such data are extremely rare, in large part because individual productivity is often unobservable and seldom measured. This chapter focuses on the use of matched employer-employee data sets to carry out a version of this ideal test, but at the establishment level. When these data sets permit the measurement of the demographic characteristics of establishments' workforces, as well as the estimation of production functions, they can be used to infer productivity differentials between workers in different groups. Comparisons of these productivity differentials with wage differentials then provide versions of the ideal test for discrimination at the establishment level. In addition to providing tests of discrimination, matched employer-employee data sets have proven useful in studying other questions that arise in the economics of discrimination, including measuring labor market segregation and assessing its consequences, and examining hypotheses or predictions that are central to economic models of discrimination.

Suggested Citation

  • Hellerstein, Judith K. & Neumark, David, 2005. "Using Matched Employer-Employee Data to Study Labor Market Discrimination," IZA Discussion Papers 1555, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1555
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp1555.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ian Domowitz & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1986. "Business Cycles and the Relationship Between Concentration and Price-Cost Margins," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 1-17, Spring.
    2. Hellerstein, Judith K & Neumark, David, 1999. "Sex, Wages, and Productivity: An Empirical Analysis of Israeli Firm-Level Data," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(1), pages 95-123, February.
    3. Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark, 2003. "Ethnicity, Language, and Workplace Segregation: Evidence from a New Matched Employer-Employee Data Set," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 71-72, pages 1-15.
    4. David Neumark & Roy J. Bank & Kyle D. Van Nort, 1996. "Sex Discrimination in Restaurant Hiring: An Audit Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 915-941.
    5. Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark & Kenneth R. Troske, 2002. "Market Forces and Sex Discrimination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(2), pages 353-380.
    6. Mincer, Jacob & Polachek, Solomon, 1974. "Family Investment in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 76-108, Part II, .
    7. Kenneth R. Troske, 1998. "The Worker-Establishment Characteristics Database," NBER Chapters,in: Labor Statistics Measurement Issues, pages 371-404 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 2, number 9780226041162, June.
    9. Judith Fields & Edward N. Wolff, 1995. "Interindustry Wage Differentials and the Gender Wage Gap," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(1), pages 105-120, October.
    10. repec:adr:anecst:y:2003:i:71-72:p:02 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. John Haltiwanger & Marilyn E. Manser & Robert Topel, 1998. "Labor Statistics Measurement Issues," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number halt98-1, January.
    12. Macpherson, David A & Hirsch, Barry T, 1995. "Wages and Gender Composition: Why Do Women's Jobs Pay Less?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(3), pages 426-471, July.
    13. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    14. Cox, Donald & Nye, John Vincent, 1989. "Male-Female Wage Discrimination in Nineteenth-Century France," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 903-920, December.
    15. Becker, Gary S, 1985. "Human Capital, Effort, and the Sexual Division of Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 33-58, January.
    16. Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark, 2007. "Production Function and Wage Equation Estimation with Heterogeneous Labor: Evidence from a New Matched Employer-Employee Data Set," NBER Chapters,in: Hard-to-Measure Goods and Services: Essays in Honor of Zvi Griliches, pages 31-71 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-895, October.
    18. Black, Dan A, 1995. "Discrimination in an Equilibrium Search Model," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 309-333, April.
    19. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
    20. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 991-1013, September.
    21. Andrew D. Foster & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 1996. "Comparative Advantage, Information and the Allocation of Workers to Tasks: Evidence from an Agricultural Labour Market," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(3), pages 347-374.
    22. Light, Audrey & Ureta, Manuelita, 1995. "Early-Career Work Experience and Gender Wage Differentials," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 121-154, January.
    23. repec:adr:anecst:y:2033:i:71-72 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Donna S. Rothstein, 2005. "The Impact of Worker and Establishment-level Characteristics on Male-Female Wage Differentials: Evidence from Danish Matched Employee-Employer Data," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 19(1), pages 1-34, March.
    25. James L. Medoff & Katharine G. Abraham, 1980. "Experience, Performance, and Earnings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(4), pages 703-736.
    26. Hellerstein, Judith K & Neumark, David & Troske, Kenneth R, 1999. "Wages, Productivity, and Worker Characteristics: Evidence from Plant-Level Production Functions and Wage Equations," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(3), pages 409-446, July.
    27. Kimberly Bayard & Judith Hellerstein & David Neumark & Kenneth Troske, 2003. "New Evidence on Sex Segregation and Sex Differences in Wages from Matched Employee-Employer Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(4), pages 887-922, October.
    28. Michael Fix & Raymond Struyk, 1993. "Clear and convincing evidence: Measurement of discrimination in america," Natural Field Experiments 00241, The Field Experiments Website.
    29. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
    30. Abowd, John M. & Kramarz, Francis, 1999. "The analysis of labor markets using matched employer-employee data," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 40, pages 2629-2710 Elsevier.
    31. Marianne A. Ferber & Carole A. Green, 1982. "Traditional or Reverse Sex Discrimination? A Case Study of a Large Public University," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 35(4), pages 550-564, July.
    32. Cotton, Jeremiah, 1988. "On the Decomposition of Wage Differentials," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(2), pages 236-243, May.
    33. Kimberly Bayard & Judith Hellerstein & David Neumark & Kenneth R. Troske, 1999. "Why Are Racial And Ethnic Wage Gaps Larger For Men Than For Women? Exploring The Role Of Segregation Using The New Worker-Establishment Characteristics Database," Labor and Demography 9902002, EconWPA.
    34. Kawaguchi, Daiji, 2007. "A market test for sex discrimination: Evidence from Japanese firm-level panel data," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 441-460, June.
    35. Torbjørn Hægeland & Tor Jakob Klette, 1997. "Do Higher Wages Reflect Higher Productivity? Education, Gender and Experience Premiums in a Matched Plant-Worker Data Set," Discussion Papers 208, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    36. Robert H Mcguckin & George A Pascoe, 1988. "The Longitudinal Research Database (LRD): Status And Research Possibilities," Working Papers 88-2, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    37. Shulamit B. Kahn, 1995. "Women in the Economics Profession," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 193-206, Fall.
    38. David Neumark, 1988. "Employers' Discriminatory Behavior and the Estimation of Wage Discrimination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(3), pages 279-295.
    39. repec:rus:hseeco:9982 is not listed on IDEAS
    40. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
    41. William A. Darity & Patrick L. Mason, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Employment: Codes of Color, Codes of Gender," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 63-90, Spring.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Mohamed Jellal & Christophe Nordman & Francois-Charles Wolff, 2008. "Evidence on the glass ceiling effect in France using matched worker-firm data," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(24), pages 3233-3250.
    2. Azmat, Ghazala & Petrongolo, Barbara, 2014. "Gender and the labor market: What have we learned from field and lab experiments?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 32-40.
    3. BROSIUS Jacques & RAY Jean-Claude & VERHEYDEN Bertrand & WILLIAMS Donald R., 2014. "Wage differentials between natives and cross-border workers within and across establishments," LISER Working Paper Series 2014-04, LISER.
    4. David Neumark, 2012. "Detecting Discrimination in Audit and Correspondence Studies," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(4), pages 1128-1157.
    5. repec:dau:papers:123456789/4377 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Judith K. Hellerstein & Melissa Mcinerney & David Neumark, 2010. "Spatial Mismatch, Immigrant Networks, and Hispanic Employment in the United States," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 99-100, pages 141-167.
    7. Stephen Pudney & Nikolaos Theodoropoulos, 2006. "Firm-Specific Gender and Ethnicity Pay Differentials in Britain," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 9-2006, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    8. Ederington, Josh & Sandford, Jeremy, 2016. "Employer discrimination and market structure: Does more concentration mean more discrimination?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 1-33.
    9. Yahmed, Sarra Ben, 2017. "Gender wage discrimination and trade openness. Prejudiced employers in an open industry," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-047, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    matched employer-employee data; labor market discrimination;

    JEL classification:

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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1555. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak). General contact details of provider: http://www.iza.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.