The Declining Importance of Race and Gender in the Labor Market: The Role of Employment Discrimination Policies

Overview

The Declining Importance of Race and Gender in the Labor Market provides historical background on employment discrimination and wage discrepancies in the United States and on government efforts to address employment discrimination. It examines the two federal institutions tasked with enforcing Title VII and the 1964 Civil Rights Act: the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). It also provides a quantitative analysis of racial and gender wage ...

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The Declining Importance of Race and Gender in the Labor Market: The Role of Employment Discrimination Policies

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Overview

The Declining Importance of Race and Gender in the Labor Market provides historical background on employment discrimination and wage discrepancies in the United States and on government efforts to address employment discrimination. It examines the two federal institutions tasked with enforcing Title VII and the 1964 Civil Rights Act: the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). It also provides a quantitative analysis of racial and gender wage gaps and seeks to determine what role, if any, the EEOC and the OFCCP had in narrowing these gaps over time and analyzes the data to determine the extent of employment discrimination today.

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Editorial Reviews

Gary S. Becker
June and Dave O’Neill have written an important book on the history of racial and gender differences in jobs and pay, the legal efforts to reduce these gaps, and why the labor market gaps due to discrimination have greatly declined over time. Their conclusions about the ineffectiveness of various federal laws to reduce discrimination and on the decline in labor market discrimination will be controversial, but the authors back up their claims with detailed and thorough analysis. Required reading for anyone who wants to learn much more about the reasons behind the remaining earnings and employment gaps between men and women, and between African American and Hispanic men compared to white men.
Charles Murray
Occasionally a book instantly alters the terms of debate.The Declining Importance of Race and Gender in the Labor Market should become one of them. Comprehensive, meticulously empirical and dispassionate, it brings together in one place all the many pieces of the puzzle. It will inevitably attract controversy because the issues themselves are so fraught with emotion. But when the reality that the O’Neills document—a great American success story—is eventually accepted, as it must be, we will be freed to concentrate on the real sources of the remaining disparities in the labor market. Ultimately, I hope this wonderful book helps us return to our ancient national aspiration: that we Americans are to treat all of our fellow citizens as individuals, not members of groups.
Linda Chavez
June and Dave O’Neill’s brilliant new book shows that many well-meaning efforts to close the black/white and male/female wage gaps over the last several decades have been misguided. Their insightful and thorough analysis shows that what wage gaps persist between these large, heterogeneous groups are due almost entirely to differential skills, work experience, and choices in education and lifestyle. Their extensive examination of historical data should be required reading for anyone interested in the contentious issue of equality in America.
John C. Goodman
Is there a pay gap for women and minorities that is caused by discrimination? June and Dave O’Neill slice and dice and make mincemeat of this claim in their new must-read book on how the labor market really works.
Richard Epstein
June and Dave O’Neill have written the modern Bible on the role of race and gender in labor markets.Their historical narrative and their statistical evidence gives strong support to the conclusion that the greatest surge for the advancement of African-Africans and women in the labor markets occurred before the onset of the Civil Rights laws. The one finding, meticulously documented, calls into question the continued usefulness of an elaborate civil rights enforcement program that may well be highly counterproductive as this nation seeks to revive its lagging labor markets.
Stephen Thernstrom and Abigail Thernstrom
An absolutely splendid book—an incisive analysis of an issue that is not going away any time soon. We are sure that we will still be debating racial and gender preferences in employment and the question of “comparable worth” a decade from now. This study is the best possible starting point for anyone who wants to educate themselves on the matter.
CHOICE
Wages in the US show persistent disparities along lines of race and gender. One explanation is the presence of discrimination in labor markets. The authors (both, economics and finance, Baruch College, CUNY) reject the idea that discrimination is a basic cause of wage differentials and argue that the elaborate efforts to equalize earnings are a policy failure. Their exemplary analysis finds that income differences among white men, minorities, and women are due primarily to a skills gap, as are the higher wages paid to Asians. With the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Supreme Court's 1970 decision adopting the concept of disparate impact, the federal government began to focus on eliminating economic inequality instead of individual acts of discrimination. Administrative bureaucracies such as the Office of Federal Contract Compliance and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission exerted substantial control over personnel practices in the private and public sectors. After analyzing wage gaps for race and gender, the authors find that most differences are attributable to such factors as age, educational attainment, language fluency, region, and kind of employment. This book makes a convincing case that labor market discrimination is a "minimal source" of wage differentials. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers; students, upper-division undergraduate and up; professionals. — R. L. Hogler, Colorado State University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780844772448
  • Publisher: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Publication date: 12/16/2012
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

June O'Neill is an adjunct scholar at AEI and a professor of economics at Baruch College.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

List of Illustrations xi

Introduction and Summary 1

Part I From Emancipation to the 1964 Civil Rights Act

1 From Emancipation to the Civil Rights Act: Social and Economic Progress 9

Lincoln's Great Promise: Emancipation and Reconstruction 10

Sources of Upward Mobility: Migration and Education 12

Racial Differences in Economic Status 15

2 Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act: Labor Market Discrimination Becomes a Federal Crime 20

Federal and State Government Antidiscrimination Efforts before 1964 21

Developments That Shaped the Civil Rights Act and Title VII 24

The 1964 Civil Rights Act and Title VII 27

Changes in Antidiscrimination Law and Policy after 1964 29

Part II Implementing Antidiscrimination Policy: The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

3 The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and Antidiscrimination Enforcement 43

Procedures and Concepts for Determining Discriminatory Behavior 44

Targeting Contractors for Compliance Review 45

Outcomes of Compliance Reviews 50

Effect of OFCCP on Discrimination: Evidence from Compliance Reviews 52

Effect of OFCCP on Discrimination: Evidence from Court Cases 56

New Rules, New Complexities 59

Conclusion 60

4 The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Antidiscrimination Enforcement 62

Charges against Employers Brought by Individuals 64

Enforcement through Litigation by Type of Discrimination 71

Conclusion 117

Part III Analysis of Program Effects

5 Accounting for Changes in the Black-White Wage Gap 123

Overview of Major Sources of Change in the Black-White Wage Gap 124

1940-60: The Decline in the Black-White Wage Gap before Title VII 134

1960-80: The Black-White Wage Gap Continues to Decline Post-Title VII 143

After 1980: Stagnation in the Black-White Wage Gap 158

6 Accounting for Changes in the Gender Wage Gap 162

Skill Differentials between Women and Men 164

Why the Gender Gap Narrowed After 1980 175

Conclusion 176

7 Effects of Affirmative Action on the Economic Status of African American and Women Workers 178

Effects of the OFCCP on Occupational Upgrading 182

Effects of the OFCCP on Relative Wages 185

Part IV Measuring Labor Market Discrimination Today

8 Labor Market Discrimination and Wage Gaps in the 2000s 195

Wage Differences between Minorities and Whites 197

The Gender Gap in Wages 223

Conclusion 243

Notes 251

References 269

Cases Cited 279

Index 283

About the Authors 293

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