A Tale of Two Supreme Court Rulings on Indian Affirmative Action

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2024-03-01
Authors
Aygün, Orhan
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Turhan, Bertan
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Economics

The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 to teach economic theory as a truth of industrial life, and was very much concerned with applying economics to business and industry, particularly agriculture. Between 1910 and 1967 it showed the growing influence of other social studies, such as sociology, history, and political science. Today it encompasses the majors of Agricultural Business (preparing for agricultural finance and management), Business Economics, and Economics (for advanced studies in business or economics or for careers in financing, management, insurance, etc).

History
The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 under the Division of Industrial Science (later College of Liberal Arts and Sciences); it became co-directed by the Division of Agriculture in 1919. In 1910 it became the Department of Economics and Political Science. In 1913 it became the Department of Applied Economics and Social Science; in 1924 it became the Department of Economics, History, and Sociology; in 1931 it became the Department of Economics and Sociology. In 1967 it became the Department of Economics, and in 2007 it became co-directed by the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Business.

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1898–present

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  • Department of Economic Science (1898–1910)
  • Department of Economics and Political Science (1910-1913)
  • Department of Applied Economics and Social Science (1913–1924)
  • Department of Economics, History and Sociology (1924–1931)
  • Department of Economics and Sociology (1931–1967)

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Abstract
India has implemented a complex affirmative action via a reservation system since the 1950s. In the historic case Indra Shawney vs. Union of India (1992), the judgment formulated three principles for reservation policy to respect. In another historic case, Ashoka Kumar Thakur vs. Union of India (2008) (AKT), the Supreme Court of India (SCI) mandated a 27 percent reservation to the Other Backward Classes (OBC). It recommended two directives without defining a procedural framework. The first one suggests implementing the OBC reservation as a soft reserve. The second one advises a maximum of 10 points difference between the cutoff scores of OBC and the open category to maintain the standard of excellence. We show that the two directives in AKT conflict with India's fundamental mandates from Indra Shawney (1992) in the sense that no choice rule can implement them concurrently. The incompatibility is resolved by either dropping the AKT directives on de-reservation or weakening the directive on eligibility. We propose path-independent assignment rules in each case.
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JEL Codes: C78, D47, D63
Length: 13 pages
Original Release Date: March 1, 2024
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