The Political Economy of Antiracism Initiatives in the Post-Durban Round
5 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2013
Date Written: 2003
Economists understand racial discrimination to mean differential treatment of identically situated individuals of different races. While this conceptualization permits detection and measurement of racially disparate market and nonmarket outcomes (Myers, 1993), it leaves unanswered the questions of how and why such differential treatment might arise and persist. Racism, or racial prejudice, is often alluded to as the underlying causal factor. But there is no coherent theory of racism in the body of economics literature. The dominant theories (the statistical discrimination and the Beckerian taste-for-discrimination theories) for the most part do not address the causes of racial prejudice, nor how it can persist even when discrimination by race is no longer permissible. Racism in its more narrow definition, as the belief in the inherent inferiority of a racial group, is even less well understood within the corpus of the economics literature. Just as the literature offers no clear consensus on what racism is, it similarly has virtually nothing to say about the organizations that fight racism. While there remains important theoretical room for understanding the problem of racism, it is just as important to understand the solution-makers that call themselves antiracism organizations.
Keywords: Political Economy
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation