New Report: Assessing Affirmative Action

Posted by on May 12, 2006

[posted from Public Education Network newsblast]


Affirmative Action refers to a set of practices undertaken by employers, university admissions offices, and government agencies to go beyond nondiscrimination, with the goal of actively improving the economic status of minorities and women with regard to employment, education, and business ownership and growth. This additional activity can take the form of special recruitment efforts to draw more applicants in these areas from minorities and women, but might also include some additional consideration of (or preference for) these applicants, given that their credentials along certain dimensions might look weaker than those of their white male counterparts. This paper reviews research on the effects of affirmative action in employment, university admissions, and government procurement. Harry Holzer and David Neumark conclude that affirmative action does redistribute jobs, university slots and government contracts away from white males and toward minorities and females, though these shifts are relatively modest.

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