Measuring the Effect of an Anti-Discrimination Program

58 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2007 Last revised: 3 Apr 2015

See all articles by Orley Ashenfelter

Orley Ashenfelter

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

James J. Heckman

University of Chicago - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); American Bar Foundation; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: August 1974

Abstract

Since 1941, six Executive Orders have been issued forbidding Federal government contractors from discriminating against minority workers. In principle, all prospective contractors are required to demonstrate compliance with the law before a contract is let. The potential penalties are severe: failure to comply with the law may result in revocation of current contracts and suspension of the right to bid on future contracts. Despite these provisions, doubts have been raised about the effectiveness of the Orders. Defenders of the Orders cite cases in which contract award dates have been postponed until firms have taken steps toward compliance with the law. In this paper, we investigate these competing claims using data from 40,445 establishments sampled in 1966 and 1970. In the first section of this paper, we distinguish what can be measured from what cannot. We develop a framework to measure and interpret program effects. In the second section we discuss the design of our sample and present results of an analysis of the randomness of this sample. In the third and concluding section, we present the estimates and discuss their plausibility.

Suggested Citation

Ashenfelter, Orley C. and Heckman, James J., Measuring the Effect of an Anti-Discrimination Program (August 1974). NBER Working Paper No. w0050. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=259361

Orley C. Ashenfelter (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-2098
United States
609-258-4040 (Phone)
609-258-2907 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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James J. Heckman

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

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Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-0634 (Phone)
773-702-8490 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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United States

American Bar Foundation

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Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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