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Measuring the Effect of an Anti-Discrimination Program

Author

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  • Orley Ashenfelter
  • James J. Heckman

Abstract

Since 1941, six Executive Orders have been issued forbidding Federal government contractors from discriminating against minority workers. In principle, all prospective contractors are required to demonstrate compliance with the law before a contract is let. The potential penalties are severe: failure to comply with the law may result in revocation of current contracts and suspension of the right to bid on future contracts. Despite these provisions, doubts have been raised about the effectiveness of the Orders. Defenders of the Orders cite cases in which contract award dates have been postponed until firms have taken steps toward compliance with the law. In this paper, we investigate these competing claims using data from 40,445 establishments sampled in 1966 and 1970. In the first section of this paper, we distinguish what can be measured from what cannot. We develop a framework to measure and interpret program effects. In the second section we discuss the design of our sample and present results of an analysis of the randomness of this sample. In the third and concluding section, we present the estimates and discuss their plausibility.

Suggested Citation

  • Orley Ashenfelter & James J. Heckman, 1974. "Measuring the Effect of an Anti-Discrimination Program," NBER Working Papers 0050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0050
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    Cited by:

    1. William J. Collins, 2001. "Race, Roosevelt, and Wartime Production: Fair Employment in World War II Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 272-286, March.
    2. Jonathan S. Leonard, 1985. "The Effectiveness of Equal Employment Law and Affirmative Action Regulation," NBER Working Papers 1745, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Leonard, Jonathan S, 1984. "The Impact of Affirmative Action on Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(4), pages 439-463, October.
    4. Jonathan S. Leonard, 1984. "Antidiscrimination or Reverse Discrimination: The Impact of Changing Demographics, Title VII, and Affirmative Action on Productivity," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(2), pages 145-174.
    5. Leonard, Jonathan S., 1987. "The interaction of residential segregation and employment discrimination," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 323-346, May.
    6. Caitlin Knowles Myers, 2007. "A Cure for Discrimination? Affirmative Action and the Case of California's Proposition 209," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(3), pages 379-396, April.
    7. Heckman, James J & Payner, Brook S, 1989. "Determining the Impact of Federal Antidiscrimination Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks: A Study of South Carolina," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 138-177, March.
    8. John J. Donohue III & Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "The Impact of Race on Policing, Arrest Patterns, and Crime," NBER Working Papers 6784, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Leonard, Jonathan S, 1984. "Employment and Occupational Advance under Affirmative Action," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(3), pages 377-385, August.
    10. Jonathan S. Leonard, 1985. "What Promises Are Worth: The Impact of Affirmative Action Goals," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(1), pages 3-20.
    11. Justin McCrary, 2006. "The Effect of Court-Ordered Hiring Quotas on the Composition and Quality of Police," NBER Working Papers 12368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Charles Brown, 1981. "The Federal Attack on Labor Market Discrimination: The Mouse that Roared?," NBER Working Papers 0669, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Richard B. Freeman, 1982. "Public Policy and Employment Discrimination in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 0928, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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