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Utilitarianism and Discrimination

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  • Alon Harel

    ()
    (Hebrew University School of Law)

  • Uzi Segal

    ()
    (Boston College)

Abstract

Since Becker (1971), a common argument against asymmetric norms that promote minority rights over those of the majority is that such policies reduce total welfare. While this may be the case, we show that there are simple environments where aggregate sum of individual utilities is actually maximized under asymmetric norms that favor minorities. We thus maintain that without information regarding individual utilities one cannot reject or promote segregation-related policies based on utilitarian arguments.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 797.

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Date of creation: 19 Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:797

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Keywords: Utilitarianism; discrimination; segregation; minority and majority rights;

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  1. Christopher Avery & Susan Athey & Peter Zemsky, 2000. "Mentoring and Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 765-786, September.
  2. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226041162, August.
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