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Affirmative Action and Intersectionality at the Top: Evidence from South Africa


  • Klasen, Stephan
  • Minasyan, Anna


Gender-based board quotas do not always lead to higher share of women in top management positions. We study the consequences of an affirmative action policy that stipulates gender- and race-based targets in top management positions, beyond boards. We focus on the representation of intersectional group identities, such as race and gender, at the top. We find sizable increase in the likelihood of Black women employment in top positions in the post-policy period relative to Black men, White women and White men in South Africa. We extend our analysis and estimate policy spillovers for years of schooling, earnings gaps and self-employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Klasen, Stephan & Minasyan, Anna, 2020. "Affirmative Action and Intersectionality at the Top: Evidence from South Africa," GLO Discussion Paper Series 467, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:467

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    affirmative action; top; employment; race; gender; South Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law


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