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Does Affirmative Action Reduce Productivity? A Case Study of the Indian Railways

Authors
Journal
World Development
0305-750X
Publisher
Elsevier
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2014.05.024
Keywords
  • Affirmative Action
  • Labor Markets
  • Productivity
  • Railways
  • Asia
  • India
Disciplines
  • Economics

Abstract

Summary Our objective is to shed empirical light on a claim often made by critics of affirmative action policies: that increasing the representation of members of marginalized communities in jobs comes at the cost of reduced productive efficiency. We undertake a systematic empirical analysis of productivity in the Indian Railways—the world’s largest employer subject to affirmative action—in order to assess whether higher proportions of affirmative action beneficiaries in employment have reduced efficiency in the railway system. We find no evidence for such an effect; indeed, some of our results suggest that the opposite is true.

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