EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Affirmative Action in India via Vertical and Horizontal Reservations

Tayfun Sönmez () and M. Bumin Yenmez ()

No 977, Boston College Working Papers in Economics from Boston College Department of Economics

Abstract: Built into the country’s constitution, one of the world’s most comprehensive affirmative action programs exists in India. Government jobs and seats at publicly funded educational institutions are allocated through a Supreme Court-mandated procedure that integrates a meritocracy-based system with a reservation system that provides a level playing field for disadvantaged groups through two types of special provisions. The higher-level provisions, known as vertical reservations, are exclusively intended for backward classes that faced historical discrimination, and implemented on a “set aside” basis. The lower-level provisions, known as horizontal reservations, are intended for other disadvantaged groups (such as women, disabled, or the economically disadvantaged), and they are implemented on a “minimum guarantee” basis. We show that, the Supreme Court-mandated procedure suffers from at least four major deficiencies. First and foremost, it is not well-defined when candidates can qualify for multiple horizontal reservations, a phenomenon that has been increasingly more common in recent years. Moreover, while a candidate can never lose a position to a less meritorious candidate from her own group under this procedure, she can lose a position to a less meritorious candidate from a higher-privilege group. This loophole under the Supreme Court-mandated procedure causes widespread confusion in India, resulting in countless lawsuits, conflicting judgements on these lawsuits, and even defiance in some of its states. We propose an alternative procedure that resolves these two major deficiencies and two additional ones.

Keywords: Market design; matching; affirmative action (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C78 D47 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-03-15, Revised 2020-01-15
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-des
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (11) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://fmwww.bc.edu/EC-P/wp977.pdf main text (application/pdf)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:boc:bocoec:977

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Boston College Working Papers in Economics from Boston College Department of Economics Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill MA 02467 USA. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Christopher F Baum ().

 
Page updated 2020-09-29
Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:977