Monday, April 24, 2006

quota-unquota dept.

Reservations may be on the cards for the private sector and IIT/IIMs. Leave aside the inevitable emotional outcry, I'm trying to understand the implications from a sociological point of view.

This may be a bad idea for small or fledgling companies. Most companies start out as ventures between friends, or families, many of them from the same community. It may be a good survival strategy during this nascency to depend on people you know and trust.

For larger companies, it may not make much of a difference. Most companies rely on the top 10% (just a figure with no empirical backing -- an intuitive guess) of the employees to do most of the decision making, and the rest mostly follow their lead. In such a case, apart from changing the demographics of the bottom 90%, reservations would really have no effect on the quality of output of the company.

Similarly for the IIT/IIMs, the difference will be in the racial/caste composition of the bottom 70-80% of graduates, and won't matter in the larger scheme of things.

So if you are high-caste, and of average ability, you have to make way for someone from a lower caste who is somewhere around the same level as you. Considering the fact that high-castes in India have been enjoying a monopoly on higher learning for centuries, you would expect their progeny to be more enterprising in keeping that lead by working harder.