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Historical discrimination and optimal remediation

Laurence Kranich ()

Social Choice and Welfare, 2017, vol. 48, issue 1, No 12, 239-265

Abstract: Abstract I consider a society which is jointly committed to ensuring equal opportunity and to increasing aggregate wealth but is faced with the vestiges of past discrimination in the form of a historically skewed distribution of social resources. Focusing on the problem of allocating the existing (fixed) quantity of social inputs, I consider two policy instruments: directly transferring resources from the advantaged to the disadvantaged or affording preferential treatment in employment to the disadvantaged group (affirmative action). After describing the general procedure for determining an optimal policy, I demonstrate by means of an example that either of the instruments might constitute an optimal remediation policy and I identify conditions which favor each.

Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.1007/s00355-016-0952-5

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