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What does affirmative action do?

  • Harry J. Holzer
  • David Neumark

The authors use data from a survey of employers to investigate how Affirmative Action in recruiting and hiring influences hiring practices, personnel policies, and ultimately employment outcomes. They find that Affirmative Action increases the number of recruitment and screening practices used by employers, raises employers' willingness to hire stigmatized applicants, increases the number of minority or female applicants as well as employees, and increases employers' tendencies to provide training and formally evaluate employees. When Affirmative Action is used in recruiting, it generally does not lead to lower credentials or performance of women and minorities hired. When it is also used in hiring, it yields minority employees whose credentials are somewhat weaker, though performance generally is not. Overall, the more intensive search, evaluation, and training that accompany Affirmative Action appear to offset any tendencies of the policy to lead to hiring of less-qualified or less-productive women and minorities. (Abstract courtesy JSTOR.)

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Article provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.

Volume (Year): 53 (2000)
Issue (Month): 2 (January)
Pages: 240-271

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Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:53:y:2000:i:2:p:240-271
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  1. Harry J. Holzer, 1986. "Informal Job Search and Black Youth Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 1860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Leonard, Jonathan S, 1985. "Affirmative Action as Earnings Redistribution: The Targeting of Compliance Reviews," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 363-84, July.
  3. Harry J. Holzer, . "Black Applicants, Black Employees, and Urban Labor Market Policy," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1162-98, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  4. Harry J. Holzer, 1998. "Why Do Small Establishments Hire Fewer Blacks Than Large Ones?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(4), pages 896-914.
  5. Barron, John M & Bishop, John & Dunkelberg, William C, 1985. "Employer Search: The Interviewing and Hiring of New Employees," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(1), pages 43-52, February.
  6. Gregory Attiyeh & Richard Attiyeh, 1997. "Testing for Bias in Graduate School Admissions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 524-548.
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