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Anti-Discrimination or Reverse Discrimination: The Impact of Changing Demographics, Title VII and Affirmative Action on Productivity

  • Jonathan S. Leonard

Opponents of the integration by race and gender of the American workplace have argued that forced equity will entail reduced productivity as employers are forced to hire lower quality females and minorities. The numerous wage equation studies always reach the same dead-end: residual differences across race or gender are due either to discrimination or to unobserved quality differences. This study takes a new approach, and directly estimates over time the ratio of minority to white male, and of female to white male productivity, using a new two-digit SIC industry by state production function data set for 1966 and 1977. The major finding is that there is no significant evidence that the productivity of minorities or females decreased relative to that of white males as relative minority and female employment increased during the 1960's and 1970's. This study also presents evidence that Title VII litigation has played a significant role in increasing black employment. This suggests that the employment of minorities and females has not entailed large efficiency costs, and that Title VII litigation has had some success in fighting racial discrimination. Direct tests of the impact of Title VII litigation and affirmative action regulation also find no significant evidence that these policies have contributed to a productivity reduction.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w1240.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1240.

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Date of creation: Nov 1983
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Publication status: published as Leonard, Jonathan S. "Anti-Discrimination or Reverse Discrimination: The Impact of Changing Demographics, Title VII and Affirmative Action on Productivity"Journal of Human Resources, Vol. 19, No. 2,(Spring 1984), pp. 145-17 4.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1240
Note: LS
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  1. Orley Ashenfelter & James Heckman, 1974. "Measuring the Effect of an Antidiscrimination Program," Working Papers 432, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. Leonard, Jonathan S, 1984. "The Impact of Affirmative Action on Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(4), pages 439-63, October.
  3. Morris Goldstein & Robert S. Smith, 1976. "The estimated impact of the antidiscrimination program aimed at federal contractors," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 29(4), pages 523-543, July.
  4. Charles Brown, 1981. "The Federal Attack on Labor Market Discrimination: The Mouse that Roared?," NBER Working Papers 0669, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1978. "Trade Unions in the Production Process," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 355-78, June.
  6. Zvi Griliches, 1967. "Production Functions in Manufacturing: Some Preliminary Results," NBER Chapters, in: The Theory and Empirical Analysis of Production, pages 275-340 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. James J. Heckman & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1976. "Does the contract compliance program work? An analysis of Chicago data," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 29(4), pages 544-564, July.
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