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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Perverse Incentives

For John, BLUF"incentive", a noun, "a thing that motivates or encourages one to do something."  From the Latin incentivum "something that sets the tune or incites, from incantare "to chant or charm."  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

The October 2017 news article detailing accusations of sexual assault and harassment against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein boosted the #MeToo movement into the nation's awareness.  What's different in the workplace today?

From Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Here is a key paragraph:

"One troubling trend," [Johnny C] Taylor said, "is executives going as far as to not invite female colleagues on trips, to evening networking events or into their inner circles to avoid any situation that could be perceived incorrectly, thus reducing the opportunity for women."
One might think of it as the Pence Rule, named after Vice President Mike Pence, who does not meet with women alone.

Then, in the area of hiring, there is this:

Research continues to show that laws prohibiting employers from asking about a job applicant’s criminal record encourage employers to discriminate against young African-American males.
There is a term for this.  Heuristic.  If you can't get the information you want, you look for ways to approximate the information.  In this case it results in increased discrimination.

Then there is the question of California's requirement for Gender Quotas for Corporate Boards.

Lawyer Ilya Somin, writing 4 October 2018:

California's new law requiring corporate boards to have a minimum number of women is both unconstitutional and likely to do more harm than good.
The point about the three items is that trying to artificially change human action without the proper incentives is going to produce distortions in the system.  You may like distortions, because you see some social value, but not everyone does.  Some of us may actually find it kind of creepy, or may find it just plain inefficient and a little fascist.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

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