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The Modern Corporation as a Safe Haven for Taste-Based Discrimination: An Agency Model of Hiring Decisions

  • Pierre-Guillaume Méon
  • Ariane Szafarz

This paper proposes a principal–agent model of labour market discrimination. In this model, the firm manager is a taste-based discriminator and has to make unobservable hiring decisions that determine the shareholder's profits, because workers differ in skill. The model shows that performance-based contracts may moderate the manager's propensity to discriminate, but that they are unlikely to fully eliminate discrimination. Moreover, the model predicts that sectors with high skill leverages discriminate less. Finally, the impacts of a wage gap between groups and of a diversity premium are investigated.

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Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series ULB Institutional Repository with number 2013/88635.

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Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in: Labour economics (2011) v.18 n° 4,p.487-497
Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/88635
Contact details of provider: Postal: CP135, 50, avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles
Web page: http://difusion.ulb.ac.be

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  1. Page, Lionel & Page, Katie, 2010. "Last shall be first: A field study of biases in sequential performance evaluation on the Idol series," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 186-198, February.
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  3. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2009. "Social Connections and Incentives in the Workplace: Evidence from Personnel Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 7114, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  10. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:10:y:2008:i:5:p:1-6 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1990. "Analysis of Hidden Gaming in a Three-Level Hierarchy," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 301-24, Fall.
  12. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2003. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 9873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Asa Rosen, 2003. "Search, Bargaining, and Employer Discrimination," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(4), pages 807-830, October.
  14. Coate, Stephen & Loury, Glenn, 1993. "Antidiscrimination Enforcement and the Problem of Patronization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 92-98, May.
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  17. Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "Ownership, Agency, and Wages: An Examination of Franchising in the Fast Food Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 75-101, February.
  18. Herbert Glejser & Bruno Heyndels, 2001. "Efficiency and Inefficiency in the Ranking in Competitions: the Case of the Queen Elisabeth Music Contest," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 109-129, May.
  19. John S. Heywood & Patrick L. O’Halloran, 2005. "Racial Earnings Differentials and Performance Pay," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
  20. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
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  22. Ariane Szafarz, 2008. "An Alternative to Statistical Discrimination," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/14329, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  23. Prendergast, Canice & Topel, Robert, 1993. "Discretion and bias in performance evaluation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 355-365, April.
  24. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1998. "What Has Economics to Say about Racial Discrimination?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 91-100, Spring.
  25. Guido Friebel & Michael Raith, 2004. "Abuse of Authority and Hierarchical Communication," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(2), pages 224-244, Summer.
  26. Marianne Bertrand & Kevin F. Hallock, 2001. "The Gender Gap in Top Corporate Jobs," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(1), pages 3-21, October.
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