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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Affirmative action in South Africa: rational discrimination according to Akerlof
Author:Black, P.A.ISNI
Periodical:South African Journal of Economics
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:black workers
labour relations
labour recruitment
External link:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1813-6982.1996.tb01114.x
Abstract:The major impact of apartheid in South Africa arguably derives from massive inequalities in the distribution of education and training facilities between the white and black population groups. Under these circumstances it is only natural that the 'best person for the job' turned out to be white, rather than black. Within this context the author views the recent adoption of affirmative action programmes by South African firms. He develops a simple microeconomic model, based on the procedure followed by G.A. Akerlof, who considers affirmative action in terms of a theory of social custom. The first section examines the relation between affirmative action and the social standing or reputation of firms; the second section examines the relationship between affirmative action and profits. The article shows that the benefits and costs of affirmative action depend on many factors. The conclusion is that no single firm can afford not to practise affirmative action in an environment in which it has become an acceptable social custom. Each firm is effectively forced to adopt a suitable affirmative action programme if it wants to maintain its competitive position or social standing in the marketplace. Bibliogr.