Market Forces and Sex Discrimination

39 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2000

See all articles by Judith K. Hellerstein

Judith K. Hellerstein

University of Maryland - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

David Neumark

University of California, Irvine - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Kenneth R. Troske

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics; University of Missouri at Columbia - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: December 1997

Abstract

We report new evidence on the existence of sex discrimination in wages and whether competitive market forces act to reduce or eliminate discrimination. Specifically, we use plant- and firm-level data to examine the relationships between profitability, growth and ownership changes, product market power, and the sex composition of a plant's or firm's workforce. Our strongest finding is that among plants with high levels of product market power, those that employ relatively more women are more profitable. No such relationship exists for plants with apparently low levels of market power. This is consistent with sex discrimination in wages in the short run in markets where plants have product market power. We also examine evidence on the longer-run effects of market forces on discrimination, asking whether discriminatory employers with market power are punished over time through lower growth than non-discriminatory employers, or whether discriminatory employers are bought out by non-discriminators. We find little evidence that this occurs over a five-year period, as growth and ownership changes for plants with market power are generally not significantly related to the sex composition of a plant's workforce.

Suggested Citation

Hellerstein, Judith K. and Neumark, David and Troske, Kenneth R., Market Forces and Sex Discrimination (December 1997). NBER Working Paper No. w6321. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=226075

Judith K. Hellerstein (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States
301-405-3545 (Phone)
301-405-3542 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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David Neumark

University of California, Irvine - Department of Economics ( email )

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United States
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949-824-2182 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.socsci.uci.edu/~dneumark/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Kenneth R. Troske

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics ( email )

Lexington, KY 40506
United States

University of Missouri at Columbia - Department of Economics ( email )

118 Professional Building
Columbia, MO 65211
United States
573-882-4229 (Phone)
573-882-2697 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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