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Does Affirmative Action Reduce Productivity? A Case Study of the Indian Railways

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  • Deshpande, Ashwini
  • Weisskopf, Thomas E.

Abstract

Our objective is to shed empirical light on a claim often made by critics of affirmative action policies: that increasing the representation of members of marginalized communities in jobs comes at the cost of reduced productive efficiency. We undertake a systematic empirical analysis of productivity in the Indian Railways—the world’s largest employer subject to affirmative action—in order to assess whether higher proportions of affirmative action beneficiaries in employment have reduced efficiency in the railway system. We find no evidence for such an effect; indeed, some of our results suggest that the opposite is true.

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  • Deshpande, Ashwini & Weisskopf, Thomas E., 2014. "Does Affirmative Action Reduce Productivity? A Case Study of the Indian Railways," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 169-180.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:64:y:2014:i:c:p:169-180
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2014.05.024
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    Cited by:

    1. Ashwini Deshpande, 2016. "Double jeopardy? Caste, affirmative action, and stigma," WIDER Working Paper Series 071, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. Diane Coffey & Ashwini Deshpande & Jeffrey Hammer & Dean Spears, 2019. "Local Social Inequality, Economic Inequality, and Disparities in Child Height in India," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 56(4), pages 1427-1452, August.
    3. Arnim Langer & Frances Stewart & Maarten Schroyens, 2016. "Horizontal inequalities and affirmative action: An analysis of attitudes towards redistribution across groups in Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 119, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Mosse, David, 2018. "Caste and development: Contemporary perspectives on a structure of discrimination and advantage," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 422-436.
    5. Stephan Klasen & Anna Minasyan, 2021. "Affirmative Action and Intersectionality at the Top: Evidence from South Africa," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 3-35, January.
    6. Ashwini Deshpande, 2016. "Double jeopardy?: Caste, affirmative action, and stigma," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2016-71, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    7. Arnim Langer & Frances Stewart & Maarten Schroyens, 2016. "Horizontal inequalities and affirmative action: An analysis of attitudes towards redistribution across groups in Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2016-119, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    8. Singhari, Smrutirekha & Madheswaran, S., 2016. "Social exclusion and caste discrimination in public and private sectors in India: A decomposition analysis," Working Papers 361, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore.
    9. Rikhil R. Bhavnani & Alexander Lee, 2021. "Does Affirmative Action Worsen Bureaucratic Performance? Evidence from the Indian Administrative Service," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 65(1), pages 5-20, January.
    10. S. Madheswaran & Smrutirekha Singhari, 2016. "Social exclusion and caste discrimination in public and private sectors in India: A decomposition analysis," The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Springer;The Indian Society of Labour Economics (ISLE), vol. 59(2), pages 175-201, June.
    11. Ashwini Deshpande & Rajesh Ramachandran, 2016. "The Changing Contours of Intergroup Disparities and the Role of Preferential Policies in a Globalizing World- Evidence from India," Working papers 267, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
    12. Ashwini Deshpande & Thomas E. Weisskopf, 2016. "Affirmative Action and Productivity in the Indian Railways," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 43(2), pages 245-251, June.
    13. Basu,Kaushik, 2015. "Discrimination as a coordination device : markets and the emergence of identity," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7490, The World Bank.

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