NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

What Does Affirmative Action Do?

Harry J. Holzer, David Neumark

NBER Working Paper No. 6605
Issued in June 1998
NBER Program(s):   LS

We use data from a survey of employers to investigate how Affirmative Action in recruiting and hiring influences hiring practices, personnel policies, and ultimately employment outcomes. Our results show that Affirmative Action increases the number of recruitment and screening practices used by employers, raises their willingness to hire stigmatized applicants, increases the number of minority or female applicants as well as employees, and increases employers' tendencies to provide training and to formally evaluate employees. When Affirmative Action is used in recruiting, it does not lead to lower credentials or performance of women and minorities hired. When it is also used in hiring, it yields female and minority employees whose credentials are somewhat weaker, though performance generally is not. Over than, the more intensive search, evaluation, and training that accompany Affirmative Action appear to offset any tendencies of the policy to lead to hiring of less-qualified or less-productive women and minorities.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w6605

Published: Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 53, no. 2 (January 2000): 240-271 citation courtesy of

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