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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. Calsamiglia, Caterina & Franke, Jörg & Rey-Biel, Pedro, 2013. "The incentive effects of affirmative action in a real-effort tournament," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 15-31.
  2. Bernardo, Antonio E & Talley, Eric & Welch, Ivo, 2000. "A Theory of Legal Presumptions," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-49, April.
  3. Roland G. Fryer, Jr. & Glenn C. Loury, 2005. "Affirmative Action and Its Mythology," NBER Working Papers 11464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Schotter, Andrew & Weigelt, Keith, 1992. "Asymmetric Tournaments, Equal Opportunity Laws, and Affirmative Action: Some Experimental Results," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 511-39, May.
  5. J�rg Franke, 2012. "The incentive effects of levelling the playing field -- an empirical analysis of amateur golf tournaments," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(9), pages 1193-1200, March.
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  7. Harry Holzer & David Neumark, 1999. "Assessing Affirmative Action," NBER Working Papers 7323, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Richard Cornes & Roger Hartley, 2002. "Asymmetric Contests with General Technologies," Keele Economics Research Papers KERP 2002/22, Centre for Economic Research, Keele University.
  9. Qiang Fu, 2006. "A Theory of Affirmative Action in College Admissions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(3), pages 420-428, July.
  10. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John, 1989. "Government procurement and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3-4), pages 291-308, May.
  11. Skaperdas, Stergios, 1996. "Contest Success Functions," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 283-90, February.
  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. Nti, Kofi O, 1999. " Rent-Seeking with Asymmetric Valuations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 415-30, March.
  14. Stein, William E, 2002. " Asymmetric Rent-Seeking with More Than Two Contestants," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(3-4), pages 325-36, December.
  15. Nitzan, Shmuel, 1994. "Modelling rent-seeking contests," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 41-60, May.
  16. Stefan Szymanski, 2003. "The Economic Design of Sporting Contests," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1137-1187, December.
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