Category: Discrimination

Gender wage gap: Why the discrimination theory (likely) fails

Probably the most rehearsed explanation of the gender pay gap is discrimination. After accounting for traditional labor market factors, a large residual gap remains. This residual gap is also called the unexplained gap. Researchers often commit the fallacy of equating unexplained effect to discrimination effect instead of omitted variable bias. In fact, most wage decomposition models are probably contaminated by bias. This article will explain that much of the residual gap is likely due to other causes. In particular, time flexibility. The evidence for the discrimination effect is often ambiguous.

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Affirmative action failed: An extensive and complicated literature review

Despite the US Supreme Court recently overturning affirmative action (AA), many scholars believe that AA bans in higher education hurt minorities’ opportunities because affirmative action actually delivered on its promises. Although the findings lack consistency, the impact of AA on the outcomes of under-represented minorities (URM) is generally either ambiguous or slightly negative. The bans exert a less negative effect on more competitive fields such as STEM. The picture is even worse when one considers that AA comes at the cost of lowering the chance of other, more capable minorities, such as Asians, and does not greatly impact the intended targets, i.e., the impoverished families among URMs.

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