Groupe d’études et de recherche en analyse des décisions

Affirmative action in large population contests

Ratul Lahkar Ashoka University, Inde

Ratul Lahkar

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We consider affirmative action in large population Tullock contests. The standard Tullock contest is an equal treatment contest in which agents who exert equal effort have an equal probability of success. In contrast, under affirmative action, agents with equal cost of effort have equal probability of success. We analyze such contests as generalized aggregative potential games and characterize their Nash equilibria. We show that affirmative action equalizes equilibrium payoffs without causing any loss of aggregate welfare. It enhances the welfare and effort levels of agents facing high effort cost. Thus, affirmative action engenders equality without having any detrimental effects on efficiency, at least when the number of agents involved are large. It does, however, reduce aggregate effort in society.