The Political Economy of Race and the Adoption of Fair Employment Laws, 1940-1964
This paper explores the political economy of anti-discrimination legislation during the ascendancy of the Civil Rights Movement. It traces the diffusion of state-level fair employment legislation and evaluates the relative importance of various demographic, political and economic factors in promoting such legislation. The empirics indicate that non-southern states with higher proportions of union members, Jews, Catholics, and NAACP members tended to adopt fair employment legislation earlier than other states. There is also some evidence that the likelihood of passage was higher in states with more competitive political systems and in states with neighbors which had already passed a law. Predicted times of fair employment policy adoption for the southern states underscore the importance of federal intervention.
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