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