What Does Affirmative Action Do?
We use data from a survey of employers to investigate how Affirmative Action in recruiting and hiring influences hiring practices, personnel policies, and ultimately employment out- comes. Our results show that Affirmative Action increases the number of recruitment and screening practices used by employers, raises their willingness to hire stigmatized applicants, increases the number of minority and female applicants as well as employees, and increases employers’ tendencies to provide training and to formally evaluate employees. When Affirmative Action is used in recruiting, it does not lead to lower credentials or performance of women and minorities hired. When it is also used in hiring, it yields female and minority employees whose credentials are somewhat weaker, though performance generally is not. Overall, then, the more intensive search, evaluation, and training that accompany Affirmative Action appear to offset any tendencies of the policy to lead to hiring of less-qualified or less-productive women and minorities.
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