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A Cure for Discrimination? Affirmative Action and the Case of California Proposition 209

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  • Caitlin Knowles Myers

Abstract

Proposition 209, enacted in California in 1996 and made effective the following year, ended state affirmative action programs not only in education, but also for public employment and government contracting. This paper uses CPS data and triple difference techniques to take advantage of the natural experiment presented by this change in state law to gauge the labor market impacts of ending affirmative action programs. Employment among women and minorities dropped sharply, a change that was nearly completely explained by a decline in participation rather than by increases in unemployment. This decline suggests that either affirmative action programs in California had been inefficient or that they failed to create lasting change in prejudicial attitudes.

Suggested Citation

  • Caitlin Knowles Myers, 2005. "A Cure for Discrimination? Affirmative Action and the Case of California Proposition 209," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0525, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:0525
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Hélène Perivier, 2007. "Les femmes sur le marché du travail aux États-Unis - Une mise en perspective avec la France et la Suède," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2007-07, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    2. Prakash, Nishith, 2008. "Improving the Labor Market Outcomes of Minorities: The Role of Employment Quota," MPRA Paper 11010, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Nayoung Rim, 2021. "The Effect of Title IX on Gender Disparity in Graduate Education," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 40(2), pages 521-552, March.
    4. Solomon W. Polachek, 2019. "Equal pay legislation and the gender wage gap," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 1-16, October.
    5. Sloane, Peter J. & Grazier, Suzanne & Jones, Richard J., 2005. "Preferences, Gender Segregation and Affirmative Action," IZA Discussion Papers 1881, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Hélène Périvier, 2008. "Les femmes sur le marché du travail aux Etats-Unis," Sciences Po publications 2008-12, Sciences Po.
    7. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/6142 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Hélène Périvier, 2009. "Les femmes sur le marché du travail aux États-Unis," Post-Print hal-02081114, HAL.
    9. Hélène Périvier, 2009. "Les femmes sur le marché du travail aux États-Unis. Évolutions mises en perspective avec celles de la France et de la Suède," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 0(1), pages 49-84.
    10. Prakash, Nishith, 2020. "The Impact of Employment Quotas on the Economic Lives of Disadvantaged Minorities in India," IZA Discussion Papers 13847, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/1203 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Nick Feltovich & Lata Gangadharan & Michael P. Kidd, 2013. "Implementation and Removal of an Affirmative-Action Quota: The Impact on Task Assignment and Workers' Skill Acquisition," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 39(s1), pages 123-140, May.
    13. Prakash, Nishith, 2020. "The impact of employment quotas on the economic lives of disadvantaged minorities in India," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 180(C), pages 494-509.
    14. Robert Fairlie & Justin Marion, 2012. "Affirmative action programs and business ownership among minorities and women," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 319-339, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    economics of gender and minorities; affirmative action; Proposition 209; discrimination;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J78 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Public Policy (including comparable worth)

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