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ECON303: Labor Economics

  • Unit 8: Discrimination in the Labor Market  

    Most of the world has seen a dramatic diversification of the labor market, especially in the last fifty years.  The demographic changes that have occurred in the past few decades are particularly apparent in labor data collected during that period.  The proportion of women in the labor force has increased dramatically in the past and their rate of growth continues to be higher than that of men.  In addition, the participation of racial/ethnic groups in the American labor force has also increased substantially as a result of immigration.  However, a certain level of discrepancy in earnings and employment opportunities on the basis of gender and race persists.  Economists study this discrimination by examining the relationship between the socio-economic backgrounds of workers and their productivity and skills.  In order to “measure” discrimination, economists have developed various frameworks for decomposing racial and gender wage differentials.  Economists also study long-run trends in wage differentials based on gender and race in order to gain valuable insight into governmental policies designed to mitigate discrimination.

    Unit 8 Time Advisory

    This unit should take you 15 hours to complete.

    ☐    Subunit 8.1: 5 hours

    ☐    Subunit 8.2: 5 hours

    ☐    Subunit 8.3: 3 hours

    ☐    Subunit 8.4: 1 hour

    ☐    Assessment: 1 hour

    Unit8 Learning Outcomes

    Upon completion of this unit, students will be able to:

    • Examine the effect of gender, race, and ethnicity on labor market outcomes.

    • Describe the theories explaining discrimination in the labor market.

    • Analyze the implications of government policies targeted towards mitigating discrimination.
    • Lecture: SUNY-Oswego: Professor John Kane's Lecture notes on Introduction to Labor Economics: “Gender, Race, and Ethnicity (Chapter 12)”

      Link: SUNY-Oswego:  Professor John Kane's Lecture notes on Introduction to Labor Economics:Gender, Race, and Ethnicity (Chapter 12)” (HTML, Adobe Flash, or Powerpoint)
       
      Instructions:  Please click on chapter 12 from the Table of Contents.  Note that the material is presented in three formats: Single document HTML format, narrated PowerPoint, and PowerPoint Slideshow.  Please go through the HTML text to learn about topics related to discrimination in the labor market. If the audio does not work at first, refresh your browser.   This reading covers subunits 8.1-8.4.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the web pages above.

  • 8.1 Differences in Earnings by Race and Gender  

  • 8.1.1 Differences in Earnings by Gender  

    Note: There are two topics under this subunit, 8.1.1.1 and 8.1.1.2, each of which have their respective readings.

  • 8.1.1.1 Evidence from Data  

    • Reading: Institute for Women's Policy Research’s “The Gender Wage Gap: 2009”

      Link: Institute for Women's Policy Research: PublicationsThe Gender Wage Gap: 2009” (PDF)
       
      Instructions:  Please click on the above link and find the "September 2010 Fact Sheet" for the topic "Gender Wage Gap: 2009.”  Spend some time studying the trends in relative earnings of women from 1955-2009. 
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the web pages above.

    • Reading: The New York Sun: David Lombino’s “Wal-Mart Edges Toward Settlement of Biggest Sex-Discrimination Case”

      Link: The New York Sun: David Lombino’s “Wal-Mart Edges Toward Settlement of Biggest Sex-Discrimination Case” (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  Please click on the above link and read the article, which presents a case study of gender discrimination in the workplace.  This article was originally published on February 7, 2007.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the web pages above.

  • 8.1.1.2 Explaining the Male-Female Wage Differential  

    • Reading: South-Western College Publishing: Economics Resource Center: “Policy Debate: Does a Gender Wage Gap Still Exist?”

      Link: :  South-Western College Publishing:  Economics Resource Center: “Policy Debate: Does a Gender Wage Gap Still Exist?” (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  Please click on the above link to read about the two opposing schools of thought concerning gender discrimination. 
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the web pages above.

  • 8.1.2 Differences in Earnings by Race and Ethnicity  

    Note: There are two topics under this subunit, 8.1.2.1 and 8.1.2.2, each of which have their respective readings

  • 8.1.2.1 Evidence from Data  

    • Reading: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “Earnings of Women and Men by Race and Ethnicity, 2007”

      Link: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “Earnings of Women and Men by Race and Ethnicity, 2007” (PDF)
       
      Instructions:  Please click on the above link and study the reported trends in relative earnings of women across a number of countries from 1960-1980. 
       
      Terms of Use: This material is part of the public domain. 

  • 8.1.2.2 Explaining the Black-White Earnings Gap  

    • Reading: The American Prospect’s “Understanding the Black-White Earnings Gap”

      Link: The American Prospect’s “Understanding the Black-White Earnings Gap” (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  Please click on the above link to learn how economists attempt to explain the Black-White wage differential.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the web pages above.

  • 8.2 Theories of Market Discrimination  

  • 8.2.1 Neo-Classical Models of Discrimination  

    • Reading: The Open University: Learning Space: “Economics Explains Discrimination in the Labour Market”

      Link: The Open University: Learning Space: “Economics Explains Discrimination in the Labour Market” (PDF)
       
      Instructions:  Please click on the above link and then, from the left side tab, choose “Introduction” (Unit 5.1) (HTML), followed by “Becker's Employer Taste Model” (Unit 5.2) (HTML) and “Statistical Discrimination” (Unit 5.3) (HTML) to learn these two neo-classical models on discrimination.  This reading covers subunits 8.2.1.1-8.2.1.2
       
      Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.  It is attributed to The Open University and can be viewed in its original form here

  • 8.2.1.1 Becker's 'Employer Taste' Model  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned under Unit 8.2.1.

  • 8.2.1.2 Statistical Discrimination  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned under Unit 8.2.1.

  • 8.2.2 Personal Prejudice Models  

    • Reading: Widener University: Professor Karen Leppel's PowerPoint Lectures on Economics course EC315: Women, Men, & Work: “VII. Labor Market Discrimination”

      Link: Widener University: Professor Karen Leppel's PowerPoint Lectures on Economics course EC315: Women, Men, & WorkVII.  Labor Market Discrimination” (Powerpoint)
       
      Instructions:  Please click on the above link and then click on the chapter "VII Labor Market Discrimination."  Please go through slides 1-48 to review the concepts covered so far and to learn more about different types of discrimination (pay particular attention to employer, employee, and customer discrimination).  This reading covers subunits 8.2.2.1-8.2.2.3.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the web pages above.

  • 8.2.2.1 Employer Discrimination  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned under Unit 8.2.2.

  • 8.2.2.2 Employee Discrimination  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned under Unit 8.2.2.

  • 8.2.2.3 Customer Discrimination  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned under Unit 8.2.2.

  • 8.2.3 Segmented Labor Markets  

    • Reading: The Open University: Learning Space: “Economics Explains Discrimination in the Labour Market”

      Link: The Open University: Learning Space: “Economics Explains Discrimination in the Labour Market” (PDF)
       
      Instructions:  Please click on the above link and then, from the left side tab, choose Introduction (Unit 6.1) (HTML), followed by  The Dual Labor Market Hypothesis (Unit 6.2) (HTML) and The Roots of Segmentation (Unit 6.3) (HTML).  This reading covers subunits 8.2.3.1-8.2.3.3.
       
      Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.  It is attributed to The Open University and can be viewed in its original form here

  • 8.2.3.1 Introduction  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned under Unit 8.2.3.

  • 8.2.3.2 The Dual Labor Market Hypothesis  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned under Unit 8.2.3.

  • 8.2.3.3 The Roots of Segmentation  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned under Unit 8.2.3.

  • 8.3 Measuring Discrimination  

    • Reading: Measuring Discrimination

      The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

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  • 8.3.1 Measuring Occupational Discrimination  

  • 8.3.2 Measuring Wage Discrimination  

  • 8.3.3 Problems with Measuring Wage Discrimination  

  • 8.4 Government Policy and Labor Market Discrimination  

    • Reading: Widener University: Professor Karen Leppel's PowerPoint Lectures on Economics course EC315: Women, Men, & Work: “VII. Labor Market Discrimination”

      Link: Widener University: Professor Karen Leppel's PowerPoint Lectures on Economics course EC315: Women, Men, & WorkVII.  Labor Market Discrimination” (Powerpoint)
       
      Instructions:  Please click on the above link and then click on the chapter "VII Labor Market Discrimination."  Please work through slides 49-68 to learn how government policies have attempted to combat labor market discrimination.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the web pages above.

    • Assessment: Lancaster University Management School: Professor Geraint Johnes' “Interactive Quizzes in Labor Economics: Discrimination”

      Link: Lancaster University Management School: Professor Geraint Johnes' “Interactive Quizzes in Labor Economics: Discrimination” (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  Please click on the topic "Discrimination" to access the interactive quiz for this unit and assess yourself by checking the answers provided by the author.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the web pages above.