IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Discrimination as Focal Point: Markets and Group Identity


  • Kaushik Basu


This paper presents a theory of discrimination for markets in which there are complementarities between different tasks. It is shown that, in such a setting, even when groups are a priori identical, employers will end up discriminating against certain groups. Group discrimination serves the purpose of creating a focal point in a market game. In this model, the free market, far from curbing discrimination, nurtures it, and thereby creates the need for purposive policy intervention. It is argued that with the rise of technology the problem of discrimination as focal point will get more acute and we will have to think in terms of affirmative action or a system of taxation and subsidy to support groups that get excluded.

Suggested Citation

  • Kaushik Basu, 2017. "Discrimination as Focal Point: Markets and Group Identity," Forum for Social Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(2), pages 128-138, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:fosoec:v:46:y:2017:i:2:p:128-138
    DOI: 10.1080/07360932.2017.1307132

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Siddique, Zahra, 2008. "Caste Based Discrimination: Evidence and Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 3737, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:wdevel:v:110:y:2018:i:c:p:422-436 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:corfin:v:56:y:2019:i:c:p:298-318 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:taf:fosoec:v:46:y:2017:i:2:p:121-127 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:fosoec:v:46:y:2017:i:2:p:128-138. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.