The disparate impact charge resulting from Kaplan’s use of FICO scores in hiring creates a feeling of déjà vu with this earlier paper by Bryan O’Keefe and Richard Vedder. In the paper, the authors argue that college degrees replaced those dastardly employment tests as a screening measure for job applicants because of the supposed disparate impact of the latter.
Thomas Sowell had a great take on this issue earlier this year:
Creating a difference that would not exist otherwise is discrimination, and something can be done about that. But, in recent times, virtually any disparity in outcomes is almost automatically blamed on discrimination, despite the incredible range of other reasons for disparities between individuals and groups.
Nature’s discrimination completely dwarfs man’s discrimination. Geography alone makes equal chances virtually impossible. The geographic advantages of Western Europe over Eastern Europe — in climate and navigable waterways, among other things — have led to centuries of differences in income levels that were greater than income differences between blacks and whites in America today.
In the end, is there a point when well-intentioned lawmakers will realize that it’s not possible to legislate equality of outcomes without creating a series of unintended consequences?