Are Affirmative Action Hires Less Qualified? Evidence from Employer-Employee Data on New Hires
Harry Holzer, David Neumark
NBER Working Paper No. 5603
In this paper we use micro-level data on employers and employees to investigate whether Affirmative Action procedures lead firms to hire minority or female employees who are less qualified than workers who might otherwise be hired. Our measures of qualifications include the educational attainment of the workers hired (both absolutely and relative to job requirements), skill requirements of the job into which they are hired, and a variety of outcome measures that are presumably related to worker performance on the job. The analysis is based on a representative sample of over 3,200 employers in four major metropolitan areas in the U.S. Our results show some evidence of lower educational qualifications among blacks and Hispanics hired under Affirmative Action, but not among white women. Further, our results show little evidence of substantially weaker job performance among most groups of minority and female Affirmative Action hires.
Published: Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 17, no. 3 (July 1999): 534-569