Race, Gender and Government Contracting: Different Explanations or New Prospects for Theory?
Fernandez, Sergio, Deanna Malatesta and Craig R. Smith. 2013. Race, gender, and government contracting: Different explanations or new prospects for theory. Public Administration Review 73(1): 109-120. DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6210.2012.02684.x.
39 Pages Posted: 6 May 2012 Last revised: 22 Jan 2015
Date Written: March 10, 2012
The U.S. Congress created the small disadvantaged business (SDB) and women-owned small business (WOSB) programs to promote fairness in government contracting. In this study, we examine whether increases in racial and gender representation in federal agencies correlates with the proportion of contracting dollars awarded to women- and minority-owned firms. Using the theory of representative bureaucracy as a starting point, we find evidence that increases in passive minority representation result in a larger proportion of contracting dollars awarded to minority-owned firms, which comports with previous empirical research. We find no evidence, however, that female representation leads directly or indirectly to substantive benefits for women-owned small businesses. Given that our findings for women do not support representative bureaucracy, we provide potential alternative explanations. Specifically, we consider whether gender biases, social identity and the queen-bee phenomenon as possible explanations for why women are less inclined to advocate for other women.
Keywords: representative bureaucracy, contracting, Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB), Women-Owned Business (WOSB)
JEL Classification: L14, J78, C30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation