Utilitarianism and discrimination

Alon Harel, Uzi Segal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Since Becker (1971), a common argument against asymmetric norms that promote minority rights over those of the majority is that such policies reduce total welfare. While this may be the case, we show that there are simple environments where aggregate sum of individual utilities is actually maximized under asymmetric norms that favor minorities. We thus maintain that without information regarding individual utilities one cannot reject or promote segregation-related policies based on utilitarian arguments.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)367-380
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Choice and Welfare
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014


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