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Networks, culture, transaction costs and discrimination

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Starts out with a survey of various formal theories that have focused on discrimination in the labor market. Argues that Becker's traditional taste for discrimination model, the various statistical discrimination models and the new cultural communication cost models ultimately yield analytically and observationally equivalent predictions. In particular, these models all imply that we may find occupational segregation across firms. This, in turn, suggests that it is not easy to identify the true causes of discriminatory wage differentials in the labor market and thus that we may have a very hard time sorting out which of these models applies best. Finally, speculates, in the context of Kremer's model of economic growth, about how changing technologies and structure of production could possibly exacerbate the inequalities predicted by these models of discrimination in the labor market.
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Keywords: Discrimination; Ethnic groups; Inequality; Job discrimination; Race; Transaction cost

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2001

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