Education investment effects of affirmative action policy. Contest game argument
In this paper we investigate the problem of effort effects of the affirmative action policy. We develop a version of a rent-seeking game in the style of Tullock (1980) with two heterogeneous players and two stages, considering that ahead of the formal competition players can invest to lower their effort cost. Using this model we show that there are instances in which the normative objective of affirmative action policy to make a level-playing field may be missed. Namely, we demonstrate that if in relative terms the cost of acquiring skills for the ex-ante weaker player (a member of a discriminated group) is low enough as compared to the ex-ante stronger player (non-discriminated), then in the actual competition the ex-ante weaker player may become stronger than the ex-ante stronger player. This result shows that AA programmes cannot be effective if they are designed in isolation based on the minority-group membership only and without taking into account the actual costs of acquiring skills (that is education or learning) by individuals.
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