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Affirmative Action in Hierarchies

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  • Scotchmer, Suzanne

Abstract

If promotion in a hierarchy is based on a random signal of ability, rates of promotion will be affected by risk-taking. Further, the numbers and abilities of risk-takers and non-risk-takers will be different at each stage of the hierarchy, and the ratio will be changing. I show that, under mild conditions, more risk-takers than non-risk-takers will survive at early stages, but they will have lower ability. At later stages, this will be reversed: Fewer risk-takers than non-risk-takers survive, but they will have higher ability. I give several interpretations for how these theorems relate to affirmative action, in light of considerable evidence that males are more risk-taking than females.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley in its series Department of Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt12j9d7c1.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2003
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:econwp:qt12j9d7c1

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Keywords: labor markets; affirmative action; hierarchy; risk-taking; Social and Behavioral Sciences;

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References

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  1. Richard Startz & Lundberg, . "Private Discrimination and Social Intervention in Competitive Labor Markets," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 19-81, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  2. Paul R. Milgrom, 1984. "Job Discrimination, Market Forces and the Invisibility Hypothesis," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 708R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised 1985.
  3. David Neumark & Harry Holzer, 2000. "Assessing Affirmative Action," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 483-568, September.
  4. Jianakoplos, Nancy Ammon & Bernasek, Alexandra, 1998. "Are Women More Risk Averse?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(4), pages 620-30, October.
  5. Lundberg, Shelly J, 1991. "The Enforcement of Equal Opportunity Laws under Imperfect Information: Affirmative Action and Alternatives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 309-26, February.
  6. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2008. "Sex and Risk: Experimental Evidence," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series archive-09, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  7. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman & Nancy Lutz & V. Padmanbhan, 1997. "Playing it Safe: Men, Women, and Risk Aversion," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series archive-42, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  8. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2008. "Forecasting Risk Attitudes: An Experimental Study Using Actual and Forecast Gamble Choices," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series archive-01, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  9. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2002. "Sex Differences and Statistical Stereotyping in Attitudes Toward Financial Risk," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series archive-03, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  10. Dekel, Eddie & Scotchmer, Suzanne, 1999. "On the Evolution of Attitudes towards Risk in Winner-Take-All Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 125-143, July.
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