Affirmative Action and Other Group Tradeoff Policies: Identifiability of Those Adversely Affected

35 Pages Posted: 7 May 2014

See all articles by Ilana Ritov

Ilana Ritov

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - School of Education

Eyal Zamir

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law

Date Written: April 8, 2014

Abstract

When social resources are limited, improving the lot of the underprivileged comes at the expense of others. Thus, policies such as Affirmative Action (AA) — designed to increase the representation of minority people in higher education or employment — implicitly entail tradeoffs between groups. We propose that, while aversion to person- or group-tradeoffs of this sort is widespread, the identifiability of those who stand to lose is a moderating factor. In five experiments, we compared support for several hypothetical AA procedures that are equivalent in terms of the overall harm and benefit, but differ with respect to the identifiability of those who stand to lose from its implementation. Results support the claim that the identifiability of those adversely affected reduces support for AA policies and for similar procedures that are unrelated to civil rights issues. Possible determinants and legal implications of this effect are discussed.

Keywords: affirmative action, identifiability, experimental legal studies, behavioral law and economics

JEL Classification: J7, K31

Suggested Citation

Ritov, Ilana and Zamir, Eyal, Affirmative Action and Other Group Tradeoff Policies: Identifiability of Those Adversely Affected (April 8, 2014). Elsevier, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (Forthcoming) . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2432612

Ilana Ritov

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - School of Education ( email )

Mt. Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
+972 2 652 9929 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://pluto.huji.ac.il/~msiritov/ilana_ritov.htm

Eyal Zamir (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law ( email )

Mount Scopus
Mount Scopus, IL 91905
Israel
+972 2 582 3845 (Phone)
+972 2 582 9002 (Fax)

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