Inequality and Income Support & Affirmative Action and Resource Allocation

Friday, November 5, 2021

Research featured on November 5 explores how social stratification affects policy response and policy design. The studies in the morning session consider who policies target and who benefits from them. How does occupational segregation interact with the impact of a minimum wage policy on racial earnings inequality? How does current support for income-based redistributive policies as demographics in society change depend on historical race relations?

The studies in the afternoon session investigate how to design optimal policies in respect to affirmative action in labor markets and political inclusion when systemic oppression occurs on multiple dimensions.

Morning Session - Inequality and Income Support

  • Date and Time: Friday November 5, 2021 10:00 - 11:45 AM EST
  • Registration: Zoom registration is required in advance

The first study discussed in the morning analyze one of the most significant federal policies in reducing the historical and persistent racial earnings gap in the U.S. The authors find that the 1967 extension of the minimum wage to sectors where black workers are overrepresented can explain more than 20% of the reduction in the racial earnings and income gap during the civil rights era. The second study in the morning compares support for the welfare state between the U.S. and Europe. In the US, racial conflict hindered the creation of a universal welfare state. In Europe, racial diversity became salient after the creation of a universal welfare state. What are the implications of these foundations for support for redistribution as the demographics of society change?


Discussants: Andria Smythe and Ceren Baysan

Afternoon Session: Affirmative Action and Resource Allocation

  • Date and Time: Friday November 5, 1:30 PM – 3:15 PM EST
  • Registration: Zoom registration required in advance

The first study in the afternoon discusses the design of affirmative action policies. The authors challenge the popular discourse that merit based allocations are optimized with color-blind selection and awarding those with the highest test scores. The second paper challenges the common approach of setting quotas to solve one dimension of political exclusion (e.g. based on gender or caste). The authors find one-dimensional quotas magnify social barriers to interactions and increase inter-group conflict. In comparison, two-dimensional quotas consistently improve relations and diminish conflict.


Discussants: Gerald Jaynes and Charity Moore