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Affirmative Action as Earnings Redistribution: The Targeting of Compliance Reviews

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  • Jonathan S. Leonard

Abstract

Affirmative action may be broadly conceived of as pursuing either the goal of reducing discrimination or that of redistributing jobs and earnings. I attempt to infer the ends of affirmative action policy by analyzing the historical record of enforcement. Optimal enforcement strategies are developed for both the anti-discrimination and the earnings redistribution models, and then compared with new data on the actual targeting of affirmative action compliance reviews during the late 1970s. I find that establishments with very low proportions of minority or female workers are not significantly more likely to be reviewed, but that white-collar intensive establishments are more likely to be reviewed. This indicates the shortcomings of the anti-discrimination model inexplaining the OFCCP's behavior, and suggests the potential usefulness of the earnings redistribution model.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1328.

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Date of creation: Apr 1984
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Publication status: published as Leonard, Jonathan S. "Affirmative Action as Earnings Redistibution: The Targeting of Compliance Reviews." Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 3, No.3,(July 1985), pp. 363-384.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1328

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Cited by:
  1. Tim Callan & Anne Wren, 1992. "An Economy-Wide Investigation of Sex Differences in Wage Rates," Papers, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) WP034, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  2. Mary E. Graham & Julie L. Hotchkiss, 2008. "Elimination of gender-related employment disparities through statistical process control," Working Paper, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta 2008-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  3. H. J. Holzer, . "Why do small establishments hire fewer blacks than large ones," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1119-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  4. Marianne Bertrand & Rema Hanna & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2008. "Affirmative Action in Education: Evidence From Engineering College Admissions in India," NBER Working Papers 13926, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Graham, Mary E. & Hotchkiss, Julie L., 2009. "A More Proactive Approach to Addressing Gender-related Employment Disparities in the United States," MPRA Paper 44795, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Harry J. Holzer & David Neumark, 2000. "What does affirmative action do?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 53(2), pages 240-271, January.
  7. Stephen Pudney, . "On the Impact of Anti-Discrimination Legislation," Discussion Papers in Public Sector Economics 99/3, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  8. Michael A. Leeds, 1992. "Who Benefits from Affirmative Action? The Case of the AEA Summer Minority Program 1986-1990," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 149-156, Spring.

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