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Demand for LaborThe Neglected Side of the Market$
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Daniel S. Hamermesh and Corrado Giulietti

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198791379

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198791379.001.0001

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Tall or Taller, Pretty or Prettier: Is Discrimination Absolute or Relative?

Tall or Taller, Pretty or Prettier: Is Discrimination Absolute or Relative?

Chapter:
(p.279) 13 Tall or Taller, Pretty or Prettier: Is Discrimination Absolute or Relative?
Source:
Demand for Labor
Author(s):

Daniel S. Hamermesh

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198791379.003.0013

Using several microeconomic data sets from the United States and the Netherlands, and the examples of height and beauty, this study examines whether: 1) Absolute or relative differences in a characteristic are what affect labor-market and other outcomes; and 2) The effects of a characteristic change when all agents acquire more of it–become taller or better-looking. Confronted with a choice among individuals, decision-makers respond more to absolute than to relative differences among them. Also, an increase in the mean of a characteristic’s distribution does not alter market responses to differences in it.

Keywords:   Discrimination, height differences, looks and earnings, mean/variance of characteristics, information

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