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Heterogeneity, Leveling the Playing Field, and Affirmative Action in Contests

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  • Subhasish M. Chowdhury

    (Department of Economics, University of Bath)

  • Patricia Esteve-Gonzalez

    (Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford)

  • Anwesha Mukherjee

    (School of Management, Technical University of Munich)

Abstract

The heterogeneous abilities of the players in various competitive contexts often lead to undesirable outcomes such as low effort provision, lack of diversity, and inequality. A range of policies are implemented to mitigate such issues by enforcing competitive balance, i.e., by leveling the playing field. Some of those policies, known as affirmative action (AA) policies, are practiced in an ethical response to historical discrimination against particular social groups, and are also aimed at increasing competition. This survey summarizes the rapidly growing literature of contest theory on AA and other policies that level the playing field. Using a general theoretical structure, we outline research on contest outcomes under a multitude of such policy mechanisms; and discuss the theoretical, experimental, and empirical findings in relation to some of the common debates surrounding AA.

Suggested Citation

  • Subhasish M. Chowdhury & Patricia Esteve-Gonzalez & Anwesha Mukherjee, 2020. "Heterogeneity, Leveling the Playing Field, and Affirmative Action in Contests," Munich Papers in Political Economy 06, TUM School of Governance at the Technical University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:aiw:wpaper:06
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    Cited by:

    1. Spencer Bastani & Thomas Giebe & Oliver Gürtler, 2019. "A General Framework for Studying Contests," CESifo Working Paper Series 7993, CESifo.
    2. Mikhail Drugov & Dmitry Ryvkin, 2020. "Hunting for the discouragement effect in contests," Working Papers w0278, New Economic School (NES).
    3. Shanglyu Deng & Hanming Fang & Qiang Fu & Zenan Wu, 2020. "Confidence Management in Tournaments," NBER Working Papers 27186, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Fu, Qiang & Wu, Zenan, 0. "On the optimal design of biased contests," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society.

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    Keywords

    Survey; Affirmative Action; Contest; Heterogeneity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A31 - General Economics and Teaching - - Multisubject Collective Works - - - Multisubject Collected Writings of Individuals
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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