Chapter 14 Labor Market Discrimination
Table 12.1 Shares of the Civilian Labor Force for Major Demographic Groups: 1988, 1998, 2008, 2018
Figure 12.1 Mean Earnings as a Percentage of White Male Earnings, Various Demographic Groups, Full-Time Workers over 24 Years Old, 2008
Table 12.2 Female Earnings as a Percentage of Male Earnings, by Age and Education, Full-Time Workers, 2008
Table 12.3 Female/Male Earnings Ratios and Percentages of Female Jobholders, Full-Time Wage and Salary Workers, by Selected High- andLow-Paying Occupations, 2009
Table 12.4 Employment Ratios, Labor-Force Participation Rates, and Unemployment Rates, by Race and Gender,a 1970–2009
Ratio of Female to Male Hourly Earnings • The ratio of female to male hourly earnings rose substantially from the late 1970s to the early 1990s and has leveled off since then. • The wage gap has decreased because the skills of women have risen, the industrial and occupational distributions have shifted in favor of women, the decline in unionism has decreased male wages more than female wages, and discrimination has declined.
Ratio of African-American to White Weekly Earnings • The ratio of African-American to white hourly earnings has not changed much over the past 3 decades.
Unemployment Rate • The unemployment rate difference between white female and white males has narrowed over time. • African-Americans have an unemployment rate that is consistently twice as great of those of whites.
Occupational Distribution by Gender, 2008 • Women are 47 percent of the employed labor force. • Women are over-represented in lower paying occupations such secretaries and elementary school teachers. • Women have made significant gains in recent decades into higher paying occupations.
Occupational Distribution by Race, 2008 • African Americans are 11 percent of the employed labor force. • African Americans are over-represented in lower paying occupations such janitors, cleaners, nursing aides, and orderlies.
Educational Attainment, 2007 • White males are more likely to have a college education than females and African-Americans among persons 25 and older. • The quality of education received by African-Americans has generally been inferior to that acquired by whites.
Earnings by Education, Race, and Sex, 2007 • Full-time women and black workers earn less than white males at each educational level. • Black males tend to earn more than black and white females.
Non-Discrimination Factors • Raw racial and gender differentials on earnings, occupational distribution, and unemployment data must be interpreted with caution. • Factors other than discrimination such as individual choice may play a role.
Discrimination • Discrimination exists when female or minority workers—who have the same abilities, education, training, and experience as white male workers—are accorded inferior treatment with respect to hiring, occupational access, promotion, wage rate, or working conditions.
Types of Discrimination • Wage discrimination • Female or black workers are paid less than male (white) workers for doing the same work. • Employment discrimination • Blacks and women bear a disproportionate share of unemployment. • Occupational job discrimination • Blacks and women are arbitrarily restricted from entering some occupations, even though they are as capable as male (white) workers.
Types of Discrimination • Human capital discrimination • Blacks and women have less access to productivity-increasing opportunities such as formal schooling or on-the-job training. • Post-market discrimination • Occurs after a person has entered the labor market • Wage discrimination • Employment discrimination • Occupational job discrimination • Pre-market discrimination • Occurs before a person has entered the labor market • Human capital discrimination
Taste for Discrimination • Becker’s taste for discrimination assumes that discrimination is a “taste” for which a discriminator is willing to pay. • Society’s taste for discrimination implies that it is willing to forego output and profits as the price of discrimination. • Tastes for discrimination arise from sources: • Employers • Consumers • Employees
Statistical Discrimination • Statistical discrimination exists when employers base decisions upon the average characteristics of the group to which they belong. • Ex: Young males pay higher insurance rates since they have more accidents on average. • Employers base hiring decisions on imperfect predictors of productivity. • Age, education, and experience provide some information about productivity.
Statistical Discrimination • Employers may use race and gender as well since they also provide information. • Gender may provide information on job commitment since women on average have higher turnover rates. • Race may provide some information about schooling quality since blacks on average go to inferior schools than whites.
Implications • Employers are not harmed when they practice statistical discrimination. • They gain since they minimize hiring costs. • Employers are not being malicious in practicing this type of discrimination. • The problem is that workers who have characteristics different from the average are harmed. • Statistical discrimination will diminish if the average characteristics of the groups converge over time. • Male-female turnover rates are converging.
1. Explain the following statement: “In the taste-for-discrimination model, discrimination is practiced even though it is costly to do so. But in the statistical discrimination model, it is clear that discrimination pays.” Question for Thought
Wagerate Wagerate Wm We We Wf Df Dm Q1 Q2 Q2 Q1 Quantity of Labor Quantity of Labor Female Occs Male Occs Occupation Crowding • By crowding women into a narrow set of “female” occupations, men will receive high wage rates of Wm in male occupations, while women will receive low wage rates of Wf in female occupations. • Employers may practice job segregation if male (white) workers don’t like to work with female (black) workers.
Ending Discrimination • Ending occupational crowding would enable females to enter male occupations. • Raise the wage rates of women and lower the wage rates of men • There would be a net gain to society as domestic output and efficiency would increase.
Index of Occupational Segregation by Gender • The index of segregationshows the percentage of women (men) who would have to change occupations for women to be distributed among occupations in the same proportions as men. • The index of segregation by gender has fallen moderately over time.
Index of Occupational Segregation by Race • The index of segregation by race has fallen moderately over time.
Rational Choice • Some economists argue that part of the gender wage gap is the result of rational choices made by women. • Women tend to have interrupted work careers due to childbearing. • Due to their shorter work careers, it is rational for women to invest less in education and training. • Their stock of human capital will deteriorate while they are out of the labor force. • Occupational segregation may be due to women choosing occupations, such as nursing and teaching, with skills that are useful in home production.
Rational Choice • The wage gap may be the result of compensating wage differentials. • Women may prefer safer jobs, less effort-intensive jobs, and shorter commute times. • Women work fewer hours than men. • More likely work part-time • Full-time women work fewer hours than full-time men.
Discrimination as a Cause • Some argue that women invest less in human capital because of discrimination. • Women stay out of the labor force because of the low pay in the labor market. • If discrimination declined, then more women may decide to remain single or childless. • Sexual harassment may cause women to drop out of the labor force.
Evidence • Male-female pay gap • Researchers decompose the pay gap into the portion explained by differences in productivity characteristics and the portion unexplained (discrimination). • Blau-Kahn find that two-thirds of the pay gap can be explained by differences in experience, industry, occupation, etc. • Pay gap has been falling equally due to a rise in relative productivity characteristics of women and a decline in the unexplained gap.
Evidence • Black-white pay gap • Blau-Kahn find that 89 percent of the pay gap can be explained by differences in productivity characteristics. • The pay gap has not changed much over time. • The black-white difference in education has diminished and thus shrunk the gap. • The payoff to education has risen which has expanded the gap.
Controversy • Economists differ on whether the unexplained portion over or understates the amount of discrimination. • Economists differ on whether unobserved productivity characteristics favor men or women. • Do the observed productivity characteristics (such as occupation) reflect discrimination?
1. “Wage differences between men and women do not reflect discrimination but rather differences in job continuity and rational decisions with respect to education and on-the-job training.” Explain why you agree or disagree. Question for Thought
Equal Pay Act of 1963 • The Equal Pay Act of 1963requires that men and women doing the same job be paid the same. • Firms could avoid the law’s requirements by conducting employment discrimination (e.g., not hiring females for jobs held by males) .
Civil Rights Act of 1964 • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlaws both wage discrimination andemployment discrimination. • Applies to race, gender, color, religion, and national origin • Applies to private employers, labor unions, and governments
Executive Orders • Executive orders in 1965 and 1968 attempted to eliminate discrimination by businesses holding government contracts. • Firms with more than $50,000 of government contracts must develop affirmative-action programs. • Firms must a develop plan to hire more women and minorities if the firm has a smaller of proportion of women and minorities than in the available labor force. • These programs have been under legal and political attack.
Controversy • Interventionist view • The market has failed to eliminate discrimination. • Minorities and women have been discriminated against in the acquisition of human capital. • Currentlegislation against discrimination does not correct for the effects of pastdiscrimination. • More than equal opportunity must be given to close the current gap.
Have Anti-Discrimination Policies Worked? • The empirical evidence on whether government policies have narrowed the gender and racial pay gaps is mixed. • It is difficult to separate the effects of the laws from other factors that are changing. • The affirmative-action laws did appear to have improved the employment opportunities for women and minorities in the 1970s but this progress ended in the 1980s.
Discrimination Coefficient • If black and white workers are equally productive, a non-discriminatory employer will randomly hire black and white workers if the wages are the same. • The strength of a employer’s prejudice against black workers is measured by the discrimination coefficient--d. • For prejudiced employers, the cost of hiring a black worker is the worker’s wage (Wb) plus the psychic cost of hiring a black worker (d).
Discrimination Coefficient • Prejudiced employers will be indifferent between white and black workers when: Ww = Wb + d • A given employer will hire black workers, if the market white-black wage gap is greater than d.
Wb/ Ww Sb 1.00 0.8 Db Q Quantity of Black Workers Wage Discrimination in the Labor Market • The demand for black workers is formed by arraying employers from lowest for highest discrimination coefficients. • The horizontal portion of the demand curve is composed of non-discriminating employers. • The downward sloping portion consists of discriminating employers. • The quantity supply of black workers supplied rises as the black-white wage ratio rises. • The intersection of the supply and demand for black workers determines the black-white ratio and the number of black workers employed.