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An Analysis of the Impact of Affirmative Action Programs on Self-Employment in the Construction Industry

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  • David G. Blanchflower
  • Jon Wainwright

Abstract

The main findings of this paper are that despite the existence of various affirmative action programs designed to improve the position of women and minorities in public construction, little has changed in the last twenty five years. We present evidence showing that where race conscious affirmative action programs exist they appear to generate significant improvements: when these programs are removed or replaced with race-neutral programs the utilization of minorities and women in public construction declines rapidly. We show that the programs have not helped minorities to become self-employed or to raise their earnings over the period 1979-2004, using data from the Current Population Survey and the Census, but have improved the position of white females. There has been a growth in incorporated self-employment rates of white women in construction such that currently their rate is significantly higher than that of white men. The data are suggestive of the possibility that some of these companies are 'fronts' which are actually run by their white male spouses or sons to take advantage of the affirmative action programs.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11793.

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Date of creation: Nov 2005
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11793

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  1. Barry T. Hirsch & Edward J. Schumacher, 2004. "Match Bias in Wage Gap Estimates Due to Earnings Imputation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 689-722, July.
  2. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 1997. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," NBER Working Papers 5881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David G. Blanchflower & Phillip B. Levine & David J. Zimmerman, 2003. "Discrimination in the Small-Business Credit Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 930-943, November.
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  5. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "The Causes and Consequences of Distinctively Black Names," NBER Working Papers 9938, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Smith, James P & Welch, Finis R, 1989. "Black Economic Progress after Myrdal," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 519-64, June.
  7. Feinstein, Jonathan S & Block, Michael K & Nold, Frederick C, 1985. "Asymmetric Information and Collusive Behavior in Auction Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 441-60, June.
  8. Daniel P. Kessler & Lawrence F. Katz, 2001. "Prevailing wage laws and construction labor markets," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(2), pages 259-274, January.
  9. David G. Blanchflower, 2000. "Self-Employment in OECD Countries," NBER Working Papers 7486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 616, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  11. David G. Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2004. "What Effect Do Unions Have on Wages Now and Would Freeman and Medoff Be Surprised?," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(3), pages 383-414, July.
  12. Robert W. Fairlie & Bruce D. Meyer, 2000. "Trends in Self-Employment among White and Black Men during the Twentieth Century," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 643-669.
  13. Fairlie, Robert, 2014. "The Absence of the African-American Owned Business: An Analysis of the Dynamics of Self-Employment," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt49c4n0fg, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  14. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1998. "What Has Economics to Say about Racial Discrimination?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 91-100, Spring.
  15. David G. Blanchflower, 2004. "Self-Employment: More may not be better," NBER Working Papers 10286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. David Blanchflower & Alex Bryson, 2002. "Changes over time in union relative wage effects in the UK and the US revisited," NBER Working Papers 9395, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Ken Cavalluzzo & Linda Cavalluzzo & John Wolken, 1999. "Competition, small business financing, and discrimination: evidence from a new survey," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-25, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  18. Marco Manacorda, 2004. "Can the Scala Mobile Explain the Fall and Rise of Earnings Inequality in Italy? A Semiparametric Analysis, 19771993," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 585-614, July.
  19. Amitabh Chandra & Jonathan Skinner, 2003. "Geography and Racial Health Disparities," NBER Working Papers 9513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. David G. Blanchflower & Richard B. Freeman, 2000. "Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number blan00-1, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Robert Fairlie & Justin Marion, 2012. "Affirmative action programs and business ownership among minorities and women," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 319-339, September.
  2. Justin Marion, 2009. "Firm racial segregation and affirmative action in the highway construction industry," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 441-453, December.
  3. Blanchflower, David G., 2007. "Entrepreneurship in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 3130, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. David Blanchflower, 2009. "Minority self-employment in the United States and the impact of affirmative action programs," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 361-396, June.
  5. Chatterji, Aaron K & Chay, Kenneth Y & Fairlie, Robert W, 2013. "The Impact of City Contracting Set-Asides on Black Self-Employment and Employment," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt479755b2, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  6. Blanchflower, David G. & Shadforth, Chris, 2007. "Entrepreneurship in the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 2818, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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