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Affirmative Action: One Size Does Not Fit All

Kala Krishna and Alexander Tarasov

Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems from Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich

Abstract: This paper identifies a new reason for giving preferences to the disadvantaged using a model of contests. There are two forces at work: the effort effect working against giving preferences and the selection e¤ect working for them. When education is costly and easy to obtain (as in the U.S.), the selection effect dominates. When education is heavily subsidized and limited in supply (as in India), preferences are welfare reducing. The model also shows that unequal treatment of identical agents can be welfare improving, providing insights into when the counterintuitive policy of rationing educational access to some subgroups is welfare improving.

Keywords: contests; educational quotas; private benefits; social welfare (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D61 I23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mic and nep-pke
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (6)

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Related works:
Journal Article: Affirmative Action: One Size Does Not Fit All (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Affirmative Action: One Size Does Not Fit All (2013) Downloads
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