NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Ashley C. Craig

Department of Economics
Harvard University

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2017Complementary Bias: A Model of Two-Sided Statistical Discrimination
with Roland G. Fryer, Jr: w23811
We introduce a model of two-sided statistical discrimination in which worker and firm beliefs are complementary. Firms try to infer whether workers have made investments required for them to be productive, and simultaneously, workers try to deduce whether firms have made investments necessary for them to thrive. When multiple equilibria exist, group differences can be generated and sustained by either side of the interaction – workers or firms. Strategic complementarity complicates both empirical analysis designed to detect discrimination and policy meant to alleviate it. Affirmative action is much less effective than in traditional statistical discrimination models. More generally, we demonstrate the futility of one-sided policies to correct gender and racial disparities. We analyze a two...
 
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