CFDP 2112R

Mentoring and the Dynamics of Affirmative Action


Publication Date: November 2017

Revision Date: August 2020

Pages: 58


We analyze the long-term workforce composition when the quality of mentoring available to majority and minority juniors depends on their representation in the workforce. A workforce with  ≥ 50% majority workers invariably converges to one where the majority is overrepresented relative to the population. To maximize welfare, persistent interventions, such as group-specific fellowships, are often needed, and the optimal workforce may include minority workers of lower innate talent than the marginal majority worker. We discuss the role of mentorship determinants, talent dispersion, the scope of short-term interventions, various policy instruments and contrast our results to the classic fairness narrative.


Affirmative action, Continuous time overlapping generations, Human capital, Labor participation, Employment insecurity, Mentoring, Talent

JEL Classification Codes: D62, E24, I2, J15, J16, J24

JEL Classification Codes: D62E24J15J16J24

See CFP: CFP 1780