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Cycles of Wage Discrimination

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  • Jeff Biddle
  • Daniel S. Hamermesh

Abstract

Using CPS data from 1979-2009 we examine how cyclical downturns and industry-specific demand shocks affect wage differentials between white non-Hispanic males and women, Hispanics and African-Americans. Women's and Hispanics' relative earnings are harmed by negative shocks, while the earnings disadvantage of African-Americans may drop with negative shocks. Negative shocks also appear to increase the earnings disadvantage of bad-looking workers. A theory of job search suggests two opposite-signed mechanisms that affect these wage differentials. It suggests greater absolute effects among job-movers, which is verified using the longitudinal component of the CPS.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeff Biddle & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2011. "Cycles of Wage Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 17326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17326
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Stephen T. Marston, 1985. "Two Views of the Geographic Distribution of Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(1), pages 57-79.
    3. Biddle, Jeff E & Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1998. "Beauty, Productivity, and Discrimination: Lawyers' Looks and Lucre," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 172-201, January.
    4. Casey B. Mulligan & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Selection, Investment, and Women's Relative Wages Over Time," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1061-1110.
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    Cited by:

    1. Inés P. Murillo & Hipólito Simón, 2014. "La Gran Recesión y el diferencial salarial por género en España," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 208(1), pages 39-76, March.
    2. Esfandiar Maasoumi & Le Wang, 2013. "The Gender Earnings Gap: Measurement and Analysis," Emory Economics 1305, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
    3. Mahajan, Kanika, 2017. "Rainfall Shocks and the Gender Wage Gap: Evidence from Indian Agriculture," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 156-172.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E29 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Other
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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