Homophily in the Job Market and No-Go Results for Affirmative Action

25 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2017 Last revised: 6 Sep 2019

Date Written: October 4, 2017


Affirmative action policies are often justified on the basis that they are temporary - once the desired level of representation has been achieved, affirmative action can cease and the situation will be self-sustaining. This paper presents no-go results that counter this idea. The model is simple and realistic. It consists of jobs and flows of people between them. It is proven that a representative steady state is unstable under very general conditions. Empirically, inbreeding homophily is ubiquitous and it is sufficient to make the representative steady state unstable. If a central planner wished to implement this perfectly representative steady state, it would require constant affirmative action intervention.

Keywords: affirmative action

JEL Classification: J7, C62, M51

Suggested Citation

Kerr, Steven, Homophily in the Job Market and No-Go Results for Affirmative Action (October 4, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3053853 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3053853

Steven Kerr (Contact Author)

University of Edinburgh ( email )

31 Buccleuch Place
Edinburgh, EH8 9JT
United Kingdom

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