Friday, May 21, 2010

Rand Paul, Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and Becker’s Hypothesis on Discrimination

Rand Paul says he would have voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act but he would have preferred that Title II not be included. Now it is not surprising that a libertarian would be opposed to government discrimination. The real issue is whether a government should be allowed to limit private discrimination. My favorite summary of what Rand Paul is saying can be found here:

The libertarian answer in this instance is that property rights trump civil rights, and that the state should prioritize enforcing those.


Gary Becker summarized the literature on the economic effects of discrimination as part of his 1992 Nobel Lecture. Libertarians could emphasize one aspect of Becker’s writing:

in a world with constant returns to scale in production, two segregated economies with the same distribution of skills would completely bypass discrimination and would have equal wages and equal returns to other resources, regardless of the desire to discriminate against the segregated minorities ... A literature has developed on whether discrimination in the marketplace due to prejudice disappears in the long run.


A fair reading of Becker’s Nobel Lecture, however, would note that he believed that private discrimination by the majority does injure the minority. Is this the kind of economic policy Tea Party types such as Rand Paul are advocating?

2 comments:

Suzan said...

Uh, yeeeeeessss.

If it just benefits them, it's perfect libertarianism.

So glad to see someone cover this end of Rand's unhappy outing.

What he is saying needs to be thoroughly dissected and presented on every available media outlet.

Let's let the people speak.

Loudly.

And then see what the other people want to say.

Thanks again!

S

Is this the kind of economic policy Tea Party types such as Rand Paul are advocating?
___________

Min said...

Gary Becker: "A literature has developed on whether discrimination in the marketplace due to prejudice disappears in the long run."

The long run? How many centuries are we talking about?

"The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind." -- Bob Dylan