Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (February 23, 2019)

Department of "Huh!?!?" This has always struck me as so wrong on so many levels.

Ever since the first politician promulgated the first regulations about product quality and measure, politicians have been legislating market outcomes as they structure markets. What could make a person write such a thing as this?:

Kevin Murphy (2014): How Gary Becker Saw the Scourge of Discrimination: "The rise of the civil-rights movement helped Becker’s work to win wider acclaim in the 1960s.... Legal remedies sought by the campaigners played no significant role in his analysis.... Legal remedies have corrected some problems but exacerbated others.... Firms intent on discriminating in their hiring practices can move to locations without significant minority populations. More fundamentally, if people have a tendency to discriminate on the basis of race, legislation cannot eliminate that tendency. Politicians cannot merely legislate a new outcome, or legislate preferences away. They can only change the way discrimination manifests itself.... One obvious question begged by Becker’s work was, who benefits from discrimination? While he did not directly address this, he did suggest that one beneficiary might be labor unions...

...Unions historically supported many aspects of discrimination since their members competed for jobs with black workers. The Economics of Discrimination remains relevant, first, as an inspiration for academic research. A recent example is work by Kerwin Kofi Charles of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and Jonathan Guryan of Northwestern University, who use Becker’s approach in an effort to understand how theoretical arguments about wage differentials between black and white workers fit with empirical data. Secondly, Becker’s use of the equilibrium concept, applied to discrimination, remains critical in gauging the impact of antidiscrimination legislation—economists continue to use it to measure how it has affected pay and education, and where employers locate. Third, the attention Becker drew to premarket factors as a key area of discrimination continues to shape public-policy debates. Seeing an opportunity to tackle the problem, Becker thought market forces—in education, through charter schools and vouchers—could help minorities advance economically...

#noted #highlighted