Choice with Affirmative Action

40 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2020

See all articles by Battal Dogan

Battal Dogan

Department of Economics, University of Bristol

Kemal Yildiz

Bilkent University - Department of Economics

Date Written: June 15, 2020


A choice rule with affirmative action decides on the recipients of a limited number of identical objects by reconciling two objectives: respecting a priority ordering over the applicants and supporting a minority group. We introduce axioms on choice rules based on the principle that affirmative action is a limited resource where the intended beneficiaries are the minority applicants with relatively low priorities. We show that a choice rule satisfies our basic axioms if and only if it admits a lexicographic representation. Variations of our axioms yield characterizations of several classes of choice rules, which provide policy makers with a menu of principles and ways to implement them. In particular, we characterize a class of choice rules that admit a simple threshold-reserve representation, which decide on the intended beneficiaries simply based on a pre-specified threshold priority-rank.

Keywords: affirmative action, lexicographic representation, reserve-together, threshold- reserve

JEL Classification: C78, D47, D71, D78

Suggested Citation

Dogan, Battal and Yildiz, Kemal, Choice with Affirmative Action (June 15, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Battal Dogan (Contact Author)

Department of Economics, University of Bristol ( email )

United Kingdom

Kemal Yildiz

Bilkent University - Department of Economics ( email )

Bilkent University, Dept. of Economics
Ankara, 06800

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