A Cure for Discrimination? Affirmative Action and the Case of California's Proposition 209
AbstractAn important claim made for affirmative action programs has been that they need not be permanent: they can be discontinued, the argument runs, once they have transformed employers' attitudes. Proposition 209, enacted in California in 1996 and made effective the following year, represents a natural experiment testing that claim. It ended long-standing state affirmative action programs not only in education, but also in public employment and government contracting. The author uses Current Population Survey data to gauge the labor market effects of this dramatic policy change. The key finding is that employment among women and minorities dropped sharply, almost wholly because of a decline in labor force participation rather than an increase in unemployment. This finding, the author argues, suggests that affirmative action programs in California either had been inefficient-that is, resulted in sub-optimal employee-employer matches-or had failed to create lasting change in employers' prejudicial attitudes.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.
Volume (Year): 60 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (April)
Postal: 381 Ives East, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-3901
Other versions of this item:
- Caitlin Knowles Myers, 2005. "A Cure for Discrimination? Affirmative Action and the Case of California Proposition 209," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0525, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
- Myers, Caitlin Knowles, 2005. "A Cure for Discrimination? Affirmative Action and the Case of California Proposition 209," IZA Discussion Papers 1674, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
- J78 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Public Policy (including comparable worth)
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