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Does Affirmative Action Reduce Effort Incentives? A Contest Game Analysis

In this paper a contest game with heterogeneous players is analyzed in which heterogeneity could be the consequence of past discrimination. Based on the normative perception of the heterogeneity there are two policy options to tackle this heterogeneity: either it is ignored and the contestants are treated equally, or affirmative action is implemented which compensates discriminated players. The consequences of these two policy options are analyzed for a simple two-person contest game and it is shown that the frequently criticized trade-off between affirmative action and total effort does not exist: Instead, affirmative action fosters effort incentives. A generalization to the n-person case and to a case with a partially informed contest designer yields the same result if the participation level is similar under each policy.

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Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 711.07.

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Length: 27
Date of creation: 31 Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:711.07
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  1. Marion, Justin, 2007. "Are bid preferences benign? The effect of small business subsidies in highway procurement auctions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1591-1624, August.
  2. Schotter, Andrew & Weigelt, Keith, 1990. "Asymmetric Tournaments, Equal Opportunity Laws And Affirmative Action: Some Experimental Result," Working Papers 90-14, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  3. Harry Holzer & David Neumark, 1999. "Assessing Affirmative Action," NBER Working Papers 7323, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Roland G. Fryer, Jr. & Glenn C. Loury, 2005. "Affirmative Action and Its Mythology," NBER Working Papers 11464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Nti, Kofi O, 1999. " Rent-Seeking with Asymmetric Valuations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 415-30, March.
  11. Clark, Derek J. & Riis, Christian, 2000. "Allocation efficiency in a competitive bribery game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 109-124, May.
  12. Kranich, Laurence, 1994. "Equal Division, Efficiency, and the Sovereign Supply of Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 178-89, March.
  13. Stein, William E, 2002. " Asymmetric Rent-Seeking with More Than Two Contestants," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(3-4), pages 325-36, December.
  14. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John, 1989. "Government procurement and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3-4), pages 291-308, May.
  15. Qiang Fu, 2006. "A Theory of Affirmative Action in College Admissions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(3), pages 420-428, July.
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