In the labor economics literature, discrimination is often defined as a situation in which identically productive workers, placed in the same working conditions, are treated unequally, being assigned contracts involving in particular different hourly wage rates. In the proposed analysis, the contract theory approach is applied, contributing to explain how in some circumstances such differences take place, even if contract discrimination and productivity differences are strictly ruled out. It is assumed that workers’ types differ only in their leisure consumption preferences and in their availability. A labor cost-minimizing firm offers a menu of labor contracts, and lets workers self-select. In this non-discriminating setting the model reveals the possibility of a paradoxical situation in which the less demanding workers obtain a higher wage rate. It brings out external effects between types and the existence of a quantum (a minimum number) of demanded workers for some type.
CONTENSOU, F. and VRANCEANU, R. (2019). Working Time and Wage Rate Differences: A Contract Theory Approach. WP1913, ESSEC Business School.