The Impact of City Contracting Set-Asides on Black Self-Employment and Employment
NBER Working Paper No. 18884
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.
You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.