Enforcement of Civil Rights Law in Private Workplaces: The Effects of Compliance Reviews and Lawsuits Over Time

Law and Social Inquiry, Volume 31, Issue 4, 855-903, Fall 2006

50 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2014

See all articles by Alexandra Kalev

Alexandra Kalev

University of Arizona

Frank Dobbin

Harvard University - Department of Sociology

Date Written: 2006

Abstract

Has federal antidiscrimination law been effective in moving women and minorities into management? Early studies show that government affirmative action reviews improved the numbers, and rank, of blacks, but evidence of what has happened since 1980 is sparse. There is little evidence that civil rights lawsuits improved the employment status of women or African Americans. We examine establishment-level effects of compliance reviews and lawsuits on the percentage of women and blacks in management. We find that compliance reviews, which alter organizational routines, had stronger and more lasting effects than lawsuits, which create disincentives to discriminate. We also find that deregulation was more consequential for compliance reviews than for lawsuits: Compliance reviews initiated in the 1980s were less effective than those initiated in the 1970s. Not so for lawsuits. Compared to lawsuits, compliance reviews appear to have a greater capacity to elicit lasting organizational change, but their effects are mediated by the regulatory environment.

Suggested Citation

Kalev, Alexandra and Dobbin, Frank, Enforcement of Civil Rights Law in Private Workplaces: The Effects of Compliance Reviews and Lawsuits Over Time (2006). Law and Social Inquiry, Volume 31, Issue 4, 855-903, Fall 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2412621

Alexandra Kalev

University of Arizona ( email )

Department of History
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States

Frank Dobbin (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Sociology ( email )

33 Kirkland Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
24
Abstract Views
290
PlumX Metrics
!

Under construction: SSRN citations will be offline until July when we will launch a brand new and improved citations service, check here for more details.

For more information