Affirmative action, meritocracy, and efficiency

Politics, Philosophy and Economics 7 (2):131-158 (2008)
Abstract
This article provides a framework for comparing meritocratic and affirmative action admissions policies. The context of the analysis is admissions to public universities; admission rules are evaluated as part of the public investment problem faced by a state government. Meritocratic and affirmative admissions policies are compared in terms of their effects on the level and distribution of human capital. I argue that (a) meritocratic admissions are not necessarily efficient and (b) affirmative action policies may be efficiency enhancing relative to meritocratic ones. Both these claims, as well as their negations, depend on features of individual behavior for which there is little empirical evidence. The implications of this absence of evidence are then explored, with a focus on policy evaluation when equality and efficiency are both desiderata. I argue that standard statistical decision theoretic approaches do not apply to the affirmative action case, even if equality and efficiency are rendered commensurable based on a scalar payoff function. In this context, I suggest that a presumption for equality-enhancing policies leads to support for affirmative action, but I emphasize the contingent nature of this conclusion. Key Words: affirmative action • meritocracy • college admissions • efficiency.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,772
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

70 ( #21,752 of 1,099,562 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #123,840 of 1,099,562 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.