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Do Unprejudiced Societies Need Equal Opportunity Legislation?

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  • David de Meza

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Abstract

To what extent should banks, insurance companies and employers be allowed to use personal information about the people whom they lend to, insure or employ in setting the terms of the contract? Even when different treatment is motivated by profit not prejudice, banning discrimination (when combined with mandatory protection against failure) may well be the best way of effecting redistribution of income. Unlike income taxation this policy achieves its goals without much adverse effect on incentives. Public provision of low-powered incentive contracts issued on generous terms is also a potent instrument of efficient redistribution. This is true even if the government cannot observe type but the private sector can.

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File URL: http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/CMPO/workingpapers/wp57.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 02/057.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:02/057

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Keywords: equal opportunities; incentives; contracts; asymmetric information; distribution;

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  1. Piketty, Thomas, 1997. "The Dynamics of the Wealth Distribution and the Interest Rate with Credit Rationing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(2), pages 173-89, April.
  2. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
  3. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
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