Affirmative Action in the United States and India: A Comparative Perspective

By Thomas E. Weisskopf | Go to book overview

6

A comparative analysis of the likely consequences of positive discrimination in the US and India

In Chapter 4 I analyzed how the context under which positive discrimination (PD) is undertaken can affect the extent to which PD policies are likely to "work well" or not-i.e. whether they can be expected to achieve their desired benefits without excessive costs. My analysis is summarized in Table 4.1. In that table the key characteristics that form the context for positive discrimination are listed in three groups, according to whether they involve the PD policy itself, the under-represented ethnic group (UREG), or the societal environment. The way in which each of the fourteen listed characteristics affects the outcome of a PD policy is also shown in Table 4.1, in the form of signs indicating the expected direction and strength of its effect on potential net benefits-indirectly via the quality of performance of PD beneficiaries, indirectly via the need for an ethnicity focus, or directly.

In Chapter 5 I compared the context for positive discrimination in the US and India. My comparison is summarized in Table 5.1, which displays differences between the US and India (and their respective UREGs) in each of the fourteen contextual characteristics. My objective in this chapter is to use the analytical framework of Chapter 4 to determine how differences in these characteristics as between the US and India are likely to result in differences in the benefits and costs generated by positive discrimination in each country.

To compare the likely consequences of positive discrimination in the US and India, we need in effect to enter the information from Table 5.1-on inter-country differences in each contextual characteristic-into the analytical framework of Table 4.1, so as to determine the impact of these differences on the net benefits to be expected from each country's PD policies. Since many of the relevant characteristics differ not only between the US and India, but also among different UREGs in each country, we need to track the impact of these differences on PD net benefits separately for each UREG within each country. In the next section I undertake this analysis sequentially for the three types of contextual characteristics that influence PD net benefits; I then summarize the results of the analysis in Table 6.1.

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