Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Discriminatory Behaviour: Issues Related to Theory and Measurement

Borooah, Vani and Myers, Samuel (2014): Discriminatory Behaviour: Issues Related to Theory and Measurement. Published in: Journal of Social Inclusion Studies , Vol. 1, No. 1 (December 2014): pp. 28-48.

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Discrimination may be pithily described as the “unequal treatment of equals". More accurately, it represents a situation wherein individuals are treated and judged—for better or for worse—in terms of their membership of a group rather than in terms of their individual personal qualities. This begs the question as to why discrimination occurs at all. How might it be modelled? How might it be measured? All these questions are addressed in this paper. However, even before broaching such questions, we need to explore the prior question of why we—along with a large number of academics, journalists, and policy-makers—should be concerned with the issue of discrimination at all? What does it matter if a group of individuals is discriminated against? What harm does discrimination inflict? On the person concerned? On society at large?

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