NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 28, 1996

A recent study by two Michigan State University economists attempts to measure the results of affirmative action programs in businesses.

In a phone survey of 3,200 employers in four major U. S. cities, Harry Holzer and David Neumark examined how women and minorities fare in firms that have affirmative action programs compared with those in firms that do not. In research conducted from 1992 to 1994, they looked at whether such workers were likely to be hired, promoted, paid well or given good performance evaluations, compared to white male co-workers.

Some of their findings:

Minority employees hired at affirmative-action firms tended to lack one or two years of schooling, compared to white male employees, and women were about one-half year behind in education compared to their male counterparts.

Performance ratings for women and minorities relative to white, male co-workers were about the same, whether employers practiced affirmative action or not.

If a firm followed affirmative action policies, the probability that a woman would be hired increased by 10 percent, that a black male would be hired increased 20 percent -- and that a white male would be hired dropped by 15 to 20 percent.

Women and minorities at both types of firms were paid less than white male peers but the differences were slimmer at companies with affirmative action policies.

Women and minorities were slightly more likely to be awarded promotions at affirmative action firms. And Hispanic females at these companies were much more likely to be promoted, compared with white males in the same offices.

Source: Perspective, "Minority Hiring," Investor's Business Daily, June 28, 1996.


Browse more articles on Government Issues