Doctoral Dissertation Research in Economics: Paternalistic Discrimination
This award funds an innovative research project to test for possible unintended consequences of policies designed to achieve equity. It will use economic theory and field experiments to test whether not hiring for jobs that are considered dangerous (paternalistic discrimination) results in systematic and general discrimination in the labor market. It also tests for whether this paternalistic discrimination creates segregation into certain jobs. This research will provide insights into the mechanisms through which hiring practices which may have started with good intentions end up hurting the people they were intended to help. The results of this research will provide inputs into the design of policies to achieve equity in the labor market. The results will also improve efficiency of the labor market, and thus increase economic growth and improve the living standards for all Americans. The results would also help establish the US as a global leader in using market mechanisms to achieve equity.
This award will fund an innovative research that combine a theoretical model of paternalistic hiring with two field experiments with real applications to hiring decisions for a night-shift job. The researchers experimentally vary whether employers or workers are informed about safe employee transport home, thereby observing both supply and demand responses to perceived increases in female employee safety and welfare. The researchers complement the experimental results with survey data to assess the: (i) effect of paternalistic discrimination on horizontal and vertical general segregation, (ii) role of paternalism as a form of systemic discrimination that restricts labor potential and work readiness, and (iii) the potential of various policies to increase female employment across different industries around the world. The results of this research will provide inputs into policies to improve the functioning of labor markets, increase labor productivity and economic growth, as well as reduce discriminatory hiring practices. The results would also help establish the US as a global leader in using market mechanisms to achieve equity.
Supported by the National Science Foundation grant #2315541
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