On The Measurement Of Illegal Wage Discrimination

Working Paper 2006-38


Standard wage discrimination models assume that independent observers are able to distinguish a priori which workers are suffering from discrimination. However, this assumption may be inadequate when severe penalties can be imposed on discriminatory employers. Antidiscrimination laws will induce firms to behave in such a way that independent observers (for instance, lawyers, economists) cannot easily detect discriminatory practices. This problem can be solved by estimating the discriminatory wage gap using finite mixture or latent class models because these procedures do not require the a priori classification of workers. In fact, the standard discrimination model can be seen as a particular case of our method when the probabilities of belonging to a group are fixed (to one or zero). We estimate discrimination coefficients for Germany and United Kingdom using the European Community Household Panel (ECHP). We obtain unambiguous higher discrimination in Germany for a wide set of measures

Authors: .

Keywords: discrimination; wages; latent class model; finite mixture models.
JEL: J60; J70