3 years ago

The nature and limits of Gary Becker’s theory of racial discrimination

Sanford Ikeda


To what extent does Gary Becker’s model of discrimination capture “the essence of prejudice and discrimination”? After providing a general outline of Becker’s original model and summarizing some subsequent developments, this paper takes a critical perspective on the model to suggest that the absence of imperfect information in his approach unhelpfully limits its explanatory power. Instead, an approach that allows for the possibility of genuine error and draws on Adam Smith’s analysis of the impact of markets on one’s moral sense offers a deeper, more realistic understanding of what it means for people to express their prejudice (or not) through their choices.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11138-018-0420-9

DOI: 10.1007/s11138-018-0420-9

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