Employer Learning and Statistical Discrimination
We provide a test for statistical discrimination or "rational" stereotyping in environments in which agents learn over time. Our application is to the labor market. If profit maximizing firms have limited information about the general productivity of new workers, they may choose to use easily observable characteristics such as years of education to "statistically discriminate" among workers. As firms acquire more information about a worker, pay will become more dependent on actual productivity and less dependent on easily observable characteristics or credentials that predict productivity. Consider a wage equation that contains both the interaction between experience and a hard-to-observe variable that is positively related to productivity, and the interaction between experience and a variable that firms can easily observe, such as years of education. We show that the wage coefficient on the unobservable productivity variable should rise with time in the labor market and the wage coefficient on education should fall. We investigate this proposition using panel data on education, the AFQT test, father's education, and wages for young men and their siblings from NLSY. We also examine the empirical implications of statistical discrimination on the basis of race. Our results support the hypothesis of statistical discrimination, although they are inconsistent with the hypothesis that firms fully utilize the information in race. Our analysis has wide implications for the analysis of the determinants of wage growth and productivity and the analysis of statistical discrimination in the labor market and elsewhere.
To our knowledge, this item is not available for
download. To find whether it is available, there are three
1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.
|Date of creation:|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208-4100|
Web page: http://www.nwu.edu/IPR/publications/wpindex1.html
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Kevin Lang, 1986. "A Language Theory of Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(2), pages 363-382.
- Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, 1996.
"Employer Learning and the Signaling Value of Education,"
NBER Working Papers
5438, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, . "Employer Learning and the Signaling Value of Education," IPR working papers 96-11, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
- Henry S. Farber & Robert Gibbons, 1996. "Learning and Wage Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1007-1047.
- Murnane, Richard J & Willett, John B & Levy, Frank, 1995.
"The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 251-66, May.
- Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & Frank Levy, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," NBER Working Papers 5076, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gibbons, R. & Katz, L.F., 1989.
"Layoffs And Lemons,"
531, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Edward P. Lazear, 1984. "Raids and Offermatching," NBER Working Papers 1419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Harry J. Holzer, 1986.
"Search Method Use by Unemployed Youth,"
NBER Working Papers
1859, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979.
"Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
- Kevin M. Murphy & Finis Welch, 1992. "The Structure of Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 285-326.
- Carmichael, H Lorne, 1989. "Self-Enforcing Contracts, Shirking, and Life Cycle Incentives," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 65-83, Fall.
- Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 2, number 9780226041162, December.
- Albrecht, James W., 1981.
"A procedure for testing the signalling hypothesis,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 123-132, February.
- Joseph G. Altonji & James R. Spletzer, 1991.
"Worker characteristics, job characteristics, and the receipt of on-the-job training,"
Industrial and Labor Relations Review,
ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 45(1), pages 58-79, October.
- Joseph G. Altonji & James R. Spletzer, 1991. "Worker Characteristics, Job Characteristics, and the Receipt of On-the-Job Training," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 45(1), pages 58-79, October.
- Richard Startz & Lundberg, .
"Private Discrimination and Social Intervention in Competitive Labor Markets,"
Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers
19-81, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
- 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 340-47, June.
- George J. Borjas, 1992. "Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 123-150.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wop:nwuipr:97-18. 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: (Thomas Krichel)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.