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Comparative Advantage, Information and the Allocation of Workers to Tasks: Evidence from an Agricultural Labor Market

  • Mark Rosenzweig
  • Andrew D. Foster

The authors use data from an agricultural labor market, in which workers receive both time- and piece-rate wages and shift frequently among employers and tasks, to assess the roles of comparative advantage, information problems, and preferences in determining the allocation of workers. The estimates which impose minimal structure not implied by economic theory are consistent with a one-factor productivity model and indicate that information asymmetries are present but workers are sorted according to comparative advantage. In particular, the disproportionate presence of female workers in weeding activities is due not to worker or employer preferences but to comparative advantage and statistical discrimination. Copyright 1996 by The Review of Economic Studies Limited.

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Paper provided by University of Pennsylvania in its series Home Pages with number _066.

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Handle: RePEc:wop:pennhp:_066
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  1. Card, David & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Wage dispersion, returns to skill, and black-white wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 319-361, October.
  2. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
  3. Heckman, James J & Sedlacek, Guilherme, 1985. "Heterogeneity, Aggregation, and Market Wage Functions: An Empirical Model of Self-selection in the Labor Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1077-1125, December.
  4. Chamberlain, Gary, 1982. "Multivariate regression models for panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 5-46, January.
  5. Goldin, Claudia, 1986. "Monitoring Costs and Occupational Segregation by Sex: A Historical Analysis," Scholarly Articles 2666727, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-45, March.
  7. Weiss, Andrew W, 1980. "Job Queues and Layoffs in Labor Markets with Flexible Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 526-38, June.
  8. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 2, number 9780226041162, October.
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