NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Impact of City Contracting Set-Asides on Black Self-Employment and Employment

Aaron K. Chatterji, Kenneth Y. Chay, Robert W. Fairlie

NBER Working Paper No. 18884
Issued in March 2013
NBER Program(s):   LS

In the 1980s, many U.S. cities initiated programs reserving a proportion of government contracts for minority-owned businesses. The staggered introduction of these set-aside programs is used to estimate their impacts on the self-employment and employment rates of African-American men. Black business ownership rates increased significantly after program initiation, with the black-white gap falling three percentage points. The evidence that the racial gap in employment also fell is less clear as it is depends on assumptions about the continuation of pre-existing trends. The black gains were concentrated in industries heavily affected by set-asides and mostly benefited the better educated.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18884

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