The Political economy of ethnic discrimination and affirmative action: a comparative perspective
The nine essays collected here examine ethnic relations, discrimination, and affirmative action in different regions of the world. The contributors focus throughout on the political economy of ethnic relations - an area that has until now been largely neglected in the literature. Written by economists, the papers both offer theoretical and empirical insights into standard neoclassical models of discrimination and explore in depth the historical and institutional features of the specific cases under study. Six of the papers address discrimination and affirmative action in developing countries; the remaining essays examine the problem as it has been manifested in socialist states. The aim throughout is to offer the reader an enhanced understanding of the economic and political genesis of the often catastrophic problems associated with ethnic discrimination. Following a general introduction by the editor, the contributors examine relations between Arabs and Jews in the Israeli labor force; the complex interactions between human rights, affirmative action, and land reform in Latin America; and ethnic relations and the new economic policy in Malaysia. The three additional studies of ethnic problems in developing countries look at apartheid in South Africa, political and economic discrimination in Sri Lanka, and ethnic conflict in the Sudan. Turning to an examination of ethnic discrimination under communism, the contributors analyze the problems faced by gypsies in Eastern Europe, the politics of ethnicity and affirmative action in the Soviet Union, and labor market discrimination and ethnic tension in Yugoslavia. A bibliography is included for those wishing to pursue further research on the subject. By focusing attention on discrimination in regions of the world little studied in past works on ethnic conflict, these essays represent a unique and important contribution to the literature of international economics and political economy.