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What is Discrimination? Gender in the American Economic Association

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Listed:
  • Stephen Donald
  • Daniel S. Hamermesh

Abstract

Measuring market discrimination is extremely difficult except in the increasingly rare case where physical output measures allow direct measurement of productivity. We illustrate this point with evidence on elections to offices of the American Economic Association. Using a new technique to infer the determinants of the chances of observing a particular outcome when there are K choices out of N possibilities, we find that female candidates have a much better than random chance of victory. This advantage can be interpreted either as reverse discrimination or as reflecting voters' beliefs that women are more productive than observationally identical men in this activity. If the former this finding could be explained by the behavior of an unchanging median voter whose gender preferences were not satisfied by the suppliers of candidates for office; but there was a clear structural change in voting behavior in the mid-1970s. The results suggest that it is not generally possible to claim that differences in rewards for different groups measure the extent of discrimination or even its direction.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Donald & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2004. "What is Discrimination? Gender in the American Economic Association," NBER Working Papers 10684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10684
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10684.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:92:y:1998:i:01:p:127-144_20 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 75-99, Fall.
    3. repec:mes:challe:v:29:y:1986:i:5:p:52-56 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Bloom, David E & Cavanagh, Christopher L, 1986. "An Analysis of the Selection of Arbitrators," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 408-422, June.
    5. Goldin, Claudia D, 1991. "The Role of World War II in the Rise of Women's Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 741-756, September.
    6. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Peter Schmidt, 2003. "The Determinants of Econometric Society Fellows Elections," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 399-407, January.
    7. Alan E. Dillingham & Marianne A. Ferber & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1994. "Gender Discrimination by Gender: Voting in a Professional Society," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(4), pages 622-633, July.
    8. Lawrence M. Kahn, 1991. "Discrimination in Professional Sports: A Survey of the Literature," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 44(3), pages 395-418, April.
    9. repec:hrv:faseco:30703972 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher A. Parsons & Johan Sulaeman & Michael C. Yates & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2007. "Strike Three: Umpires' Demand for Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 13665, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Pema, Elda & Mehay, Stephen, 2010. "The role of job assignment and human capital endowments in explaining gender differences in job performance and promotion," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 998-1009, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists

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