Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"It pays the weaker or smaller contender to fight harder"

In Jack Hirschleifer's The Dark Side of the Force, he has an essay on The Paradox of Power. His point is that "While wealth certainly provides the wherewithal for successfully exploiting a poorer opponent, the initially disadvantaged group is typically rationally motivated to fight harder. Or, put the other way, non-conflictual or cooperative strategies tend to be relatively more rewarding for the better-endowed side."
p. 45.

Put differently, those who have received reward fairly easily might well be majorized by those who are poorer who have learned to work very hard to get anything. It would be rational to hire those who have been discriminated-against but have made their way, over those who have had it comparatively easily, even if the discriminated-against were weaker than those who have been rewarded easily.  How much weaker I cannot say.  (This is not about affirmative action or anything compensatory. Rather you are making a long-term bet and those who work harder are likely to last longer.)