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Employment Discrimination Law

Income Distribution

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Passive Discrimination: When Does It Make Sense To Pay Too Little?, Jonah B. Gelbach, Jonathan Klick, Lesley Wexler Jan 2009

Passive Discrimination: When Does It Make Sense To Pay Too Little?, Jonah B. Gelbach, Jonathan Klick, Lesley Wexler

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Economists have long recognized employers’ ability to construct benefits packages to induce workers to sort themselves into and out of jobs. For instance, to encourage applications from individuals with a highly valued but largely unobservable characteristic, such as patience, employers might offer benefits that patient individuals are likely to value more than other individuals. By offering a compensation package with highly valued benefits but a relatively low wage, employers will attract workers with the favored characteristic and discourage other individuals from applying for or accepting the job. While economic theory generally views this kind of self-selection in value neutral terms ...