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Heterogeneity, Leveling the Playing Field, and Affirmative Action in Contests

Subhasish Chowdhury, Patricia Esteve-Gonzalez and Anwesha Mukherjee
Additional contact information
Patricia Esteve-Gonzalez: Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford
Anwesha Mukherjee: School of Management, Technical University of Munich

Munich Papers in Political Economy from TUM School of Governance at the Technical University of Munich

Abstract: The heterogeneous abilities of the players in various competitive contexts often lead to undesirable outcomes such as low effort provision, lack of diversity, and inequality. A range of policies are implemented to mitigate such issues by enforcing competitive balance, i.e., by leveling the playing field. Some of those policies, known as affirmative action (AA) policies, are practiced in an ethical response to historical discrimination against particular social groups, and are also aimed at increasing competition. This survey summarizes the rapidly growing literature of contest theory on AA and other policies that level the playing field. Using a general theoretical structure, we outline research on contest outcomes under a multitude of such policy mechanisms; and discuss the theoretical, experimental, and empirical findings in relation to some of the common debates surrounding AA.

Keywords: Survey; Affirmative Action; Contest; Heterogeneity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A31 C72 D74 D82 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 69 pages
Date: 2020-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp
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