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Splitting Blacks?: Affirmative Action and Earnings Inequality within and Across Races

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  • Jonathan S. Leonard

Abstract

Critics have said that affirmative action is at best ineffective and at worst counterproductive. In particular, it has been argued that if affirmative action helps anybody, it helps only the highly educated cream of the minority population, and may perversely work to the detriment of the unskilled and uneducated. This study finds that minority males earn higher wages in sectors where affirmative action is prevalent, indicating that it has increased the demand for minority males. I also find evidence of this effect for both the lowly and highly educated, suggesting that affirmative action under the Executive Order has not contributed to the economic bifurcation of the minority community.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan S. Leonard, 1984. "Splitting Blacks?: Affirmative Action and Earnings Inequality within and Across Races," NBER Working Papers 1327, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1327
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    1. Welch, Finis, 1981. "Affirmative Action and Its Enforcement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 127-133, May.
    2. James J. Heckman & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1976. "Does the Contract Compliance Program Work? An Analysis of Chicago Data," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 29(4), pages 544-564, July.
    3. Straszheim, Mahlon R., 1980. "Discrimination and the spatial characteristics of the urban labor market for black workers," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 119-140, January.
    4. Morris Goldstein & Robert S. Smith, 1976. "The Estimated Impact of the Antidiscrimination Program Aimed at Federal Contractors," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 29(4), pages 523-543, July.
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