Working Paper No. 562

Government-Mandated Discriminatory Policies

Published: August 15, 2001 Pages: 25Keywords: Discrimination; Informational Free Riding; Income DistributionJEL-codes: D31; J45; J71

Government-Mandated Discriminatory Policies Hanming Fang and Peter Norman

This paper provides a simple explanation for why some minority groups are economically successful, despite being subject to government-mandated discriminatory policies. We study an economy with private and public sectors in which workers invest in imperfectly observable skills that are important to the private sector but not to the public sector. A law allows native majority workers to be employed in the public sector with positive probability while excluding the minority from it. We show that even when the public sector offers the highest wage rate, it is still possible that the discriminated group is, on average, economically more successful. The reason is that the preferential policy lowers the majority's incentive to invest in imperfectly observable skills by exacerbating the informational free riding problem in the private sector labor market.

Sick of Inequality?

An Introduction to the Relationship between Inequality and Health

Sick of Inequality.jpg

In this book Andreas Bergh, Therese Nilsson, IFN and Lund University, and Daniel Waldenström, IFN and Paris School of Economics, France, review the latest research on the relationship between inequality and health. What does inequality mean for our health? Does increasing income inequality affect outcomes such as obesity, life expectancy and subjective well-being?


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To present ongoing research informal brown-bag seminars are held on Mondays at 11:30 am. This is an opportunity for IFN researchers to test ideas and results.

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