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Nepotism, Discrimination, and the Persistence of Utility-Maximizing, Owner-Operated Firms: Comment

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Abstract

A recent thoughtful paper by Singell and Thornton (thereafter ST) in the Southern Economic Journal deviates in definitions, modeling, and a result from the traditional literature on tastes for discrimination and nepotism that originates with Becker and Arrow. This comment provides a critique of these three aspects of the ST analysis. In particular, it shows that ST’s astonishing result that discrimination will persist in a competitive labor market is unjustified, ST’s unconventional definitions of owners with unbiased and biased preferences are wrong, and ST’s unique modeling of discrimination and nepotism is unsupported.

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