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Journal ArticleDOI

Identification, screening and stereotyping in labour market discrimination

01 Jan 2005-Journal of Economics (Springer Vienna)-Vol. 99, Iss: 2, pp 141-171

AbstractAccording to social-psychological research, feelings of uncertainty in decision-making evoke two opposite responses: (i) reduction of uncertainty by information search, leading to less stereotyping of people, and hence less discrimination; (ii) social identification with an ingroup, inducing more reliance on stereotypic perceptions and prejudices, and hence more discrimination against an outgroup. We integrate both responses in a microeconomic model of hiring and pay decisions by an employer. Increasing competition in the product market makes the employer feel more uncertain about his profits, but also raises the opportunity cost of screening expenditures. This elicits substitution of ingroup identification for screening expenditures, and hence enhances discrimination.

Topics: Ingroups and outgroups (50%)

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Abstract: Explanations of unethical behavior often neglect the role of competition, as opposed to greed, in assuring its spread. Using the examples of child labor, corruption, excessive' executive pay, corporate earnings manipulation, and commercial activities by universities, this paper clarifies the role of competition in promoting censured conduct. When unethical behavior cuts costs, competition drives down prices and entrepreneurs' incomes, and thereby reduces their willingness to pay for ethical conduct. Nonetheless, I suggest that competition might be good for ethical behavior in the long run, because it promotes growth and raises incomes. Higher incomes raise the willingness to pay for ethical behavior, but may also change what people believe to be ethical for the better.

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Journal ArticleDOI
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3 citations


References
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Journal ArticleDOI
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