Affirmative Action with Multidimensional Identities

28 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2022

See all articles by Jean-Paul Carvalho

Jean-Paul Carvalho

Department of Economics, University of Oxford

Bary Pradelski

CNRS, Université Grenoble Alpes

Cole Williams

University of Vienna

Date Written: March 30, 2022

Abstract

Affirmative action policies are widely employed in college admissions, hiring, and other decisions to reduce underrepresentation of disadvantaged groups. Existing policies predominantly treat each identity dimension (e.g., race, gender, caste) as independent. We find that generically such nonintersectional policies cannot eliminate underrepresentation. Under certain conditions, every nonintersectional policy worsens the representativeness of at least one intersectional group. Accounting for interactions between identity dimensions, we construct intersectional policies that achieve a representative outcome. Nonintersectional policies can, however, eliminate underrepresentation along each identity dimension, despite preserving (and potentially disguising) underrepresentation among intersectional groups.

Keywords: Affirmative action, education, inequality, underrepresentation, identity, intersectionality

JEL Classification: J7, I24, D02

Suggested Citation

Carvalho, Jean-Paul and Pradelski, Bary and Williams, Cole, Affirmative Action with Multidimensional Identities (March 30, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4070930 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4070930

Jean-Paul Carvalho (Contact Author)

Department of Economics, University of Oxford ( email )

10 Manor Rd
Oxford, OX1 3UQ
United Kingdom

Bary Pradelski

CNRS, Université Grenoble Alpes ( email )

Grenoble
France

HOME PAGE: http://cnrs.fr

Cole Williams

University of Vienna ( email )

Bruenner Strasse 72
Vienna, Vienna 1090
Austria

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