An efficiency argument for affirmative action in higher education
We consider a dynamic framework in which generations are linked by educational background. In particular, individuals differ in ability to benefit from education, parental education and appurtenance to a group (either a disadvantaged minority or a non-minority). The individual decision to undertake education is inefficient because people fail to account for the fact that their getting education increases the chances that their children will also gain access to education. This intergenerational externality is higher for people from the disadvantaged minority, provided that the difference in expected utility for children of uneducated and educated individuals is larger within this group. This provides an argument for affirmative action in higher education, in the form of larger subsidies to individuals from the minority group, which is exclusively based on efficiency considerations.
Volume (Year): 187 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
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