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Sorting, Quotas, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991: Who Hires When It's Hard to Fire?

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  • Oyer, Paul
  • Schaefer, Scott

Abstract

The Civil Rights Act of 1991 (CRA91) was enacted after a rancorous debate about whether it was a "quota" hiring bill or a necessary means of opening labor markets. We analyze the effects of CRA91 on the composition of firms' workforces. We consider employer behavior when firms vary in their susceptibility to discrimination suits and when firms can reduce exposure to discrimination claims by employing more protected workers. These forces lead to a sorting effect, which causes firms that are more susceptible to discrimination litigation to substitute away from protected workers, and a quota effect, which causes firms with fewer pre-CRA91 protected workers to substitute toward these workers. Using data from various sources, we find evidence consistent with CRA91 having had a sorting effect. We find no evidence that CRA91 led to widespread quota hiring and no evidence that CRA91 helped integrate industries that had employed relatively few protected workers. Copyright 2002 by the University of Chicago.

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  • Oyer, Paul & Schaefer, Scott, 2002. "Sorting, Quotas, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991: Who Hires When It's Hard to Fire?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(1), pages 41-68, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:45:y:2002:i:1:p:41-68
    DOI: 10.1086/324654
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua D. Angrist, 2001. "Consequences of Employment Protection? The Case of the Americans with Disabilities Act," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 915-957, October.
    2. Paul Oyer & Scott Schaefer, 2002. "Litigation Costs and Returns to Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 683-705, June.
    3. Donohue, John J, III & Heckman, James, 1991. "Continuous versus Episodic Change: The Impact of Civil Rights Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1603-1643, December.
    4. Farber, Henry S, 1994. "The Analysis of Interfirm Worker Mobility," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(4), pages 554-593, October.
    5. Helland, Eric & Tabarrok, Alexander T, 2000. "Runaway Judges? Selection Effects and the Jury," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 306-333, October.
    6. Thomas DeLeire, 2000. "The Wage and Employment Effects of the Americans with Disabilities Act," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 693-715.
    7. Paul Oyer & Scott Schaefer, 2000. "Layoffs and Litigation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(2), pages 345-358, Summer.
    8. Leonard, Jonathan S, 1990. "The Impact of Affirmative Action Regulation and Equal Employment Law on Black Employment," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 47-63, Fall.
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    Cited by:

    1. John J. Donohue III, 2005. "The Law and Economics of Antidiscrimination Law," NBER Working Papers 11631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Steinar Holden & Åsa Rosén, 2014. "Discrimination And Employment Protection," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(6), pages 1676-1699, December.
    3. Kim, Soojin & Rhee, Serena, 2018. "Measuring the effects of employment protection policies: Theory and evidence from the Americans with Disabilities Act," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 116-134.

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