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A Cure for Discrimination? Affirmative Action and the Case of California Proposition 209

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  • Caitlin Knowles Myers

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Abstract

Proposition 209, enacted in California in 1996 and made effective the following year, ended state affirmative action programs not only in education, but also for public employment and government contracting. This paper uses CPS data and triple difference techniques to take advantage of the natural experiment presented by this change in state law to gauge the labor market impacts of ending affirmative action programs. Employment among women and minorities dropped sharply, a change that was nearly completely explained by a decline in participation rather than by increases in unemployment. This decline suggests that either affirmative action programs in California had been inefficient or that they failed to create lasting change in prejudicial attitudes.

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File URL: http://www.middlebury.edu/services/econ/repec/mdl/ancoec/0525.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Middlebury College, Department of Economics in its series Middlebury College Working Paper Series with number 0525.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:0525

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Keywords: economics of gender and minorities; affirmative action; Proposition 209; discrimination;

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  1. Holzer, Harry & Neumark, David, 1999. "Are Affirmative Action Hires Less Qualified? Evidence from Employer-Employee Data on New Hires," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(3), pages 534-69, July.
  2. Morris Goldstein & Robert S. Smith, 1976. "The estimated impact of the antidiscrimination program aimed at federal contractors," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 29(4), pages 523-543, July.
  3. Coate, S. & Loury, G.C., 1992. "Will Affirmative Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?," Papers 3, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  4. Orley Ashenfelter & James J. Heckman, 1974. "Measuring the Effect of an Anti-Discrimination Program," NBER Working Papers 0050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Susan Athey, 1998. "Mentoring and Diversity," Working papers 98-2, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Smith, James P & Welch, Finis, 1984. "Affirmative Action and Labor Markets," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(2), pages 269-301, April.
  7. Mincer, Jacob, 1976. "Unemployment Effects of Minimum Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S87-104, August.
  8. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
  9. Gruber, Jonathan, 1994. "The Incidence of Mandated Maternity Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 622-41, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Hélène Périvier, 2008. "Les femmes sur le marché du travail aux États-Unis," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2008-12, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  2. Prakash, Nishith, 2009. "Improving the Labor Market Outcomes of Minorities: The Role of Employment Quota," IZA Discussion Papers 4386, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Sloane, Peter J. & Grazier, Suzanne & Jones, Richard J., 2005. "Preferences, Gender Segregation and Affirmative Action," IZA Discussion Papers 1881, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Nick Feltovich & Lata Gangadharan & Michael P. Kidd, 2013. "Implementation and Removal of an Affirmative-Action Quota: The Impact on Task Assignment and Workers' Skill Acquisition," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 39(s1), pages 123-140, May.
  5. Hélène Périvier-Timbeau, 2007. "Les femmes sur le marché du travail aux Etats-Unis: une mise en perspective avec la France et la Suède," Sciences Po publications 2007-07, Sciences Po.
  6. Hélène Périvier-Timbeau, 2008. "Les femmes sur le marché du travail aux Etats-Unis," Sciences Po publications 2008-12, Sciences Po.
  7. Hélène Perivier, 2007. "Les femmes sur le marché du travail aux États-Unis - Une mise en perspective avec la France et la Suède," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2007-07, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).

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