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Affirmative Action in Hierarchies

  • Suzanne Scotchmer

    (University of California, Berkeley & NBER)

There is considerable evidence that males are more prone to take risks than females. This difference has implications for rates of promotion in hierarchies where promotion is based on random signals of ability. I explore the promotion consequences of three types of performance standards: gender-blind standards, standards designed to promote agents of equal ability on average, and standards designed to promote equal numbers of both genders. These three objectives lead to different promotion standards, which highlights among other things that the goal of affirmative action is not well defined. Lower promotion standards for females can be necessary to ensure either equal abilities or equal numbers in the promoted populations.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Industrial Organization with number 0303005.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 19 Mar 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:0303005
Note: 24 pages, Acrobat .pdf
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Richard Startz & Lundberg, . "Private Discrimination and Social Intervention in Competitive Labor Markets," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 19-81, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  2. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:106:y:1991:i:1:p:309-26 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. David Neumark & Harry Holzer, 2000. "Assessing Affirmative Action," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 483-568, September.
  4. Dekel, E. & Scotchmer, S., 1999. "On the Evolution of Attitudes Towards Risk in Winner-Take-All Games," Papers 4-99, Tel Aviv.
  5. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:102:y:1987:i:3:p:453-76 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2008. "Sex and Risk: Experimental Evidence," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-09, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  7. Paul R. Milgrom, 1984. "Job Discrimination, Market Forces and the Invisibility Hypothesis," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 708R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised 1985.
  8. Jianakoplos, Nancy Ammon & Bernasek, Alexandra, 1998. "Are Women More Risk Averse?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(4), pages 620-30, October.
  9. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman & Nancy Lutz & V. Padmanbhan, 1997. "Playing it Safe: Men, Women, and Risk Aversion," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-42, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  10. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2002. "Sex Differences and Statistical Stereotyping in Attitudes Toward Financial Risk," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-03, Monash University, Department of Economics.
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