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The Case for Discrimination

Alon Harel () and Uzi Segal ()

No 768, Boston College Working Papers in Economics from Boston College Department of Economics

Abstract: This paper defends the use of asymmetric norms which grant gre- ater privileges to minorities than to majorities. The norms we discuss include norms facilitating the establishment or prohibition of minority- only or majority-only institutions, neighborhoods, or associations. While traditionally the primary arguments favoring minorities’ privileges have been based on considerations of fairness or justice, we show that there are simple environments where asymmetric norms would maximize aggregate sum of individual utilities. A utilitarian may therefore support the establishment of black colleges or Hassidic only neighborhoods while at the same time oppose exclusion of blacks or Jews from white or Christian neighborhoods.

Keywords: Utilitarianism; housing discrimination; minority rights (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D63 J15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011-01-03
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