<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

If a business is located in an area with a large minority population and refuses to sell to minorities, it will cut into its own profits. If some businesses run by bigoted employers refuse to pay women and/or minorities a wage based on their productivity, then other profit-seeking employers can hire these workers. In a competitive market , if the owners of a business care more about the color of money than about the color of skin, they will have an incentive to make buying, selling, hiring, and promotion decisions strictly based on economic factors.

The power of markets to offer at least a degree of freedom to oppressed groups should not be underestimated. In many countries, cohesive minority groups like Jews and emigrant Chinese have managed to carve out a space for themselves through their economic activities, despite legal and social discrimination against them. Many immigrants, including those who come to the United States, have taken advantage of economic freedom to make new lives for themselves. However, history teaches that market forces alone are unlikely to eliminate discrimination. After all, discrimination against African Americans persisted in the market-oriented U.S. economy during the century between President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves in 1863, and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964—and has continued since then, too.

So why does discrimination persist in competitive markets? Gary Becker sought to explain this persistence. Discriminatory impulses can emerge at a number of levels: among managers, among workers, and among customers. Consider the situation of a manager who is not personally prejudiced, but who has many workers or customers who are prejudiced. If that manager treats minority groups or women fairly, the manager may find it hurts the morale of prejudiced co-workers or drives away prejudiced customers. In such a situation, a policy of nondiscrimination could reduce the firm’s profits. After all, a business firm is part of society, and a firm that does not follow the societal norms is likely to suffer. Market forces alone are unlikely to overwhelm strong social attitudes about discrimination.

Visit this website to read more about wage discrimination.

Public policies to reduce discrimination

A first public policy step against discrimination in the labor market is to make it illegal. For example, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 said that men and women who do equal work at a company must be paid the same. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 prohibited discrimination on the basis of age against individuals who are 40 years of age or older. The Civil Rights Act of 1991 provides monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 was aimed at prohibiting discrimination against women in the workplace who are planning to get pregnant, are pregnant, or are returning after pregnancy. Passing a law, however, is only part of the answer, since discrimination by prejudiced employers may be less important than broader social patterns.

Questions & Answers

explain the uses of microeconomics
Nikita Reply
uses of microeconomics
Nikita
Adam Smith's definition of economics
Sylvia Reply
what is economic deficit
Amjad
this is a situation whereby a nation's outcome or available resources are not enough to the people thereby causing scarcity
Ariel
prices of Quality demanded is equal to Quality supplied
NABUBOLO Reply
it's quantity demand and quantity supplied that's called equilibrium
Romy
no
NABUBOLO
they deal With prices
NABUBOLO
define the elasticity
NABUBOLO
explain different types of elasticity
NABUBOLO
oops 😬 you are right you talk about quality I tell about quantity
Romy
elasticity is the measurement of the percentage change of one economic variable in response to a change in another
Romy
Cross Elasticity of Demand (XED) Income Elasticity of Demand (YED) Price Elasticity of Supply (PES)
Romy
anything else?
Romy
I need to know everything about theory of consumer behavior
Grace
How does one analyze a market where both demand and supply shift?
Gabriel Reply
That's equilibrium market
Ramon
but an equlibrum can appear twice on the same market... both in Movement along the Demand/supply curve of shift in the Curve
Gabriel
I Mean on the same curve..
Gabriel
how can consumer surplus be calculated
Franklyn
How can we analyze the effect on demand or supply if multiple factors are changing at the same time—say price rises and income falls? 
Gabriel Reply
because of fall of income, less will be demanded and much will be supply as a result of price rises. Rise in price always motivate new supplier to enter into the system. But it only possible in the short run
Kweku
yeah.. I think Ceteris Paribus is applied in this case
Gabriel
that is the law of Demand is Inversely related to the law of Supply... so that mean a positive change in demand may produce a negative return to supply I think.
Gabriel
what are the difference between Wants and Needs
Gabriel Reply
When the price is above the equilibrium, explain how market forces move the market price to equilibrium. Do the same when the price is below the equilibrium.
Gabriel
economic problems
Manishankar
yeah please Explain
Gabriel
I don't know this is my question
Manishankar
no it was a mistake...😂😂 can you explain how Wants and needs differs 😌
Gabriel
wants is what human desire but might not need them, human want are mostly articles of ostentatious while need is what human must get to live e.g inferior goods
Ramon
what's equilibrium price
james
equilibrium prices is a situation whereby the price of goods supplied equates to the demand
Ariel
this whereby the prices of quality demanded is equivalent to quality demanded
NABUBOLO
wants are numerous desire man that man can do without if not purchased e.g. cosmetic while need are desires that you cannot do without e.g. food
Franklyn
equilibrium price is that level of output were quantity demanded is equal to quantity supplied
Arthur
what are the importance of studying economics
Bherla Reply
To know if the country is growing or not through the country's GDP
Ariel
to manage our resources
TOBI
compare base years GDP and the current years GDP
james
To tell whether a country is growing there are many factors to be considered not necessarily only the GDP due to weaknesses of GDP approach
james
What is the law of demand
Yaw Reply
price increase demand decrease...price decrease demand increase
Mujahid
ıf the price increase the demand decrease and if the demand increase the price decrease
MUBARAK
all other things being equal, an increase in demand causes a decrease in supply and vice versa
SETHUAH
yah
Johnson
how is the economy of usa now
Johnson
What is demand
jude Reply
Demand is the quantity of goods and services a consumer is willing and able to purchase at various prices over a given period of time.
Yaw
yea
SETHUAH
Okay congratulations I'll join you guys later .
Aj
yes
MUBARAK
demand is the quantity and quality of goods and services a consumer is willingly and able to purchase at a particular price over a given period of time.
TOBI
calculate elasticity of income exercises
HABANABAKIZE Reply
If potatoes cost Jane $1 per kilogram and she has $5 that could possibly spend on potatoes or other items. If she feels that the first kilogram of potatoes is worth $1.50, the second kilogram is worth$1.14, the third is worth $1.05 and subsequent kilograms are worth $0.30, how many kilograms of potatoes will she purchase? What if she only had $2 to spend?
Susan Reply
cause of poverty in urban
DAVY Reply
QI: (A) Asume the following cost data are for a purely competitive producer: At a product price Of $56. will this firm produce in the short run? Why Why not? If it is preferable to produce, what will be the profit-maximizing Or loss-minimizing Output? Explain. What economic profit or loss will the
Falak Reply
what is money
DAVY Reply
money is any asset that is generally acceptable for the exchange of goods and for the settlement of debts
Mnoko
money is a generally acceptable asset used for the settlement of debt and exchange of goods and services,its also flexible
TOBI
what is economic
Stephen Reply
economics is the study of ways in which people use resources to satisfy their wants
Falak

Get Jobilize Job Search Mobile App in your pocket Now!

Get it on Google Play




Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Principles of economics' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask