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The Effects of Race and Sex Discrimination Laws

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  • David Neumark
  • Wendy A. Stock

Abstract

The question of the effects of race and sex discrimination laws on relative economic outcomes for blacks and women has been of interest at least since the Civil Rights and Equal Pay Acts passed in the 1960s. We present new evidence on the effects of these laws based on variation induced first by state anti-discrimination statutes passed prior to the federal legislation and then by the extension of anti-discrimination prohibitions to the remaining states with the passage of federal legislation. This evidence improves upon earlier time-series studies of the effects of anti-discrimination legislation. It is complementary to more recent work that revisits this question using data and statistical experiments that provide 'treatment' and 'comparison' groups. We examine the effects of race and sex discrimination laws on employment and earnings, in each case focusing on outcomes for black females, black males, and white females relative to white males. Overall, we interpret the evidence as corroborating the general conclusion that race discrimination laws positively impacted the relative employment and earnings of blacks, although the evidence is less dramatic than that reported in other research, and there are some cases (in particular, earnings effects for black males) and periods for which we find little positive impact. We find some evidence that sex discrimination/equal pay laws boosted the relative earnings of black and white females. Finally, we find that sex discrimination/equal pay laws reduced the relative employment of both black women and white women.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8215.

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Date of creation: Apr 2001
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Publication status: published as Neumark, David and Wendy Stock. “The Labor Market Effects of Race and Sex Discrimination Laws." Economic Inquiry (2006): 385-419.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8215

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Cited by:
  1. Weichselbaumer, Doris & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 2003. "The Effects of Competition and Equal Treatment Laws on the Gender Wage Differential," IZA Discussion Papers 822, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Christafore, David & Leguizamon, Sebastian, 2012. "Earnings differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals and the effects of anti-discriminatory laws: equal but still unmarried," MPRA Paper 45267, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Timothy Besley & A. Abigail Payne, 2005. "Implementation of Anti-Discrimination Policy:Does Judicial Selection Matter?," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 04, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  4. Weichselbaumer, Doris & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf & Zweimüller, Martina, 2007. "Market Orientation and Gender Wage Gaps: An International Study," CEPR Discussion Papers 6388, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Kaas, Leo & Lu, Jun, 2009. "Equal-Treatment Policy in a Random Search Model with Taste Discrimination," IZA Discussion Papers 4173, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Kahanec, Martin, 2005. "Two Faces of the ICT Revolution: Desegregation and Minority-Majority Earnings Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 1872, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. David Neumark, 2003. "Age Discrimination Legislation in the United States," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(3), pages 297-317, 07.
  8. William J. Collins, 2003. "The Housing Market Impact of State-Level Anti-Discrimination Laws 1960-1970," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0304, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  9. Tim Besley & Abigail Payne, 2003. "Judicial accountability and economic policy outcomes: evidence from employment discrimination charges," IFS Working Papers W03/11, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  10. Collins, William J., 2003. "The political economy of state-level fair employment laws, 1940-1964," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 24-51, January.
  11. William J. Collins, 2003. "The Housing Market Impact of State-Level Anti-Discrimination Laws, 1960-970," NBER Working Papers 9562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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