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Assessing Affirmative Action

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  • David Neumark
  • Harry Holzer

Abstract

Economic research provides extensive evidence regarding discrimination against women and minorities, and some evidence on the redistributive effects of affirmative action. However, it provides much less evidence on affirmative action's impact on efficiency or performance, perhaps the key economic issue in the debate over affirmative action. This review covers all of these issues, but focuses on the efficiency/performance question, drawing on economics and other disciplines. The evidence suggests to us that affirmative action can be implemented with relatively little efficiency loss. Most importantly, the empirical case against affirmative action on the grounds of efficiency is weak at best.

Suggested Citation

  • David Neumark & Harry Holzer, 2000. "Assessing Affirmative Action," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 483-568, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:38:y:2000:i:3:p:483-568
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.38.3.483
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    JEL classification:

    • J78 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Public Policy (including comparable worth)
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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