Barbara Bergmann was well known for many contributions to economics, but she was perhaps most famous for her 1971 occupational crowding hypothesis. The hypothesis was published during a surge of literature on the economics of discrimination, and it temporarily stood among the mainstream neoclassical theories before being relegated primarily to feminist and stratification economics. This article situates the crowding hypothesis among contemporary competing theories on the economics of discrimination and explains why it did not last in the mainstream camp. Despite Bergmann's neoclassical framing, the model's conclusions did not align with models of perfect competition and more closely aligned with heterodox perspectives on group power and conflict.

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