What Determines Public Support for Affirmative Action?

31 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 1998

See all articles by Murat Iyigun

Murat Iyigun

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics; Harvard University - Center for International Development (CID); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Andrew T. Levin

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: August 1998

Abstract

We present a public higher education finance model in which demand for educational services can exceed supply because of indivisibilities in educational investment. In such situations, a screening mechanism--which may be imperfect due to direct or indirect discrimination--is required for allocation. We show how changes in the education premium affect political support for affirmative action policies. When the education premium is relatively low, the matching efficiency gains provided by affirmative action policies are relatively high compared to the opportunity cost of not acquiring education, and the majority supports broader affirmative action. In contrast, when the education premium is high, the opportunity cost of not getting educated is high relative to the matching efficiency gains provided by affirmative action policies, and the majority's support for affirmative action is weaker. With endogenous wages, the negative relationship between the returns to education and affirmative action is reinforced.

JEL Classification: D63, D72, H52, I22

Suggested Citation

Iyigun, Murat F. and Levin, Andrew, What Determines Public Support for Affirmative Action? (August 1998). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=133268 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.133268

Murat F. Iyigun (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics ( email )

Campus Box 256
Boulder, CO 80309
United States
303-492-6653 (Phone)
303-492-8622 (Fax)

Harvard University - Center for International Development (CID) ( email )

One Eliot Street Building
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Andrew Levin

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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