NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Impact of Government on the Economic Status of Black Americans

James J. Heckman

NBER Working Paper No. 2860
Issued in February 1989
NBER Program(s):   LS

This paper reviews recent evidence on black economic progress. It notes that while relative status increased over the period 1965-1981, absolute differentials in real earnings between blacks and whites widened over this period. The paper goes out to summarize recent studies of the impact of government on the economic status of black Americans. Educational policy has a strong effect. The evidence on affirmative action programs is mixed. There is an intrinsic bias in the methods used toward finding no effect of affirmative action programs. Selection bias effects do not account for more than 10-12% of measured wage growth of black males.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w2860

Published: "Determining the Impact of Federal Antidiscrimination Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks: A Study of South Carolina" The American Economic Review, Vol. 79, No. 1, Mar., 1989

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