Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Droit, économie et discrimination

Contents:

Author Info

  • Patricia Charléty
  • François Contensou
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Discrimination usually has a pejorative connotation. It is generally associated with injustice that should be compensated by more equality or even positive action. In fact, the same term of ?discrimination? is used in various contexts, with different causes and consequences. The purpose of this article is to shed some light on this important issue through an economic approach. We examine two fields where discrimination is frequently observed : the market for goods and services, and the labour market. In the market for goods and services, firms often charge different prices for different groups of consumers. Prices vary across countries, ages groups... While it is true that companies benefit from this policy, it does not follow that consumers suffer from discrimination. In fact, groups who would be excluded from the market by a too high single price but buy it when the firm discriminates gain. These groups may well represent the less wealthy part of the population (for example allowing a lower price for drugs in poorer countries help these populations). In general, the welfare consequences of price discrimination are ambiguous, and there are actually cases where everyone (the firm and all consumers) gains. Thus economic analysis has no decisive argument against price discrimination in the market for goods and services as it may actually contribute to a more efficient and egalitarian distribution. The same argument does not apply to labour market. However, it is important to stress that discrimination based on gender or ethnics, which should be condemned, may derive from economic rationality. For example, an employer who is planning to invest in the employee?s human capital may rationally favour candidates expected to stay long enough in the company. This typically is less likely to be the case for young women who therefore will be disadvantaged on the basis that, statistically, they leave more frequently for obvious reasons. Discrimination may also result from self fulfilling prophecies : if everyone believes that women are bad drivers, women may actually refrain from driving, and no observation will contradict the beliefs which are therefore confirmed. Similar situations may prevail in the labour market and lead to discrimination against some minorities. In such cases, policies aiming at fighting discrimination (such as affirmative action) may well harm the segments of population the people they intended to help. It is therefore important to understand the discriminating mechanism at play : preconceptions should not be dealt with in the same manner as decisions of rational agents.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.cairn.info/load_pdf.php?ID_ARTICLE=RIDE_214_0389
    Download Restriction: free

    File URL: http://www.cairn.info/revue-internationale-de-droit-economique-2007-4-page-389.htm
    Download Restriction: free

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by De Boeck Université in its journal Revue internationale de droit économique.

    Volume (Year): t. XXI, 4 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 389-414

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:cai:riddbu:ride_214_0389

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.cairn.info/revue-internationale-de-droit-economique.htm

    Related research

    Keywords: economic rationality; discrimination; price discrimination; employment discrimination (gender);

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cai:riddbu:ride_214_0389. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jean-Baptiste de Vathaire).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.