Employer hiring decisions and antidiscrimination policy
H. J. Holzer
Have federal antidiscrimination policies been effective in improving employment outcomes for minorities and females? If so, why have the relative wages and employment of blacks deteriorated in recent years? What other factors on the demand side of the labor market have contributed to these developments, and what are the appropriate public policy responses? In this paper I address these issues. I begin by reviewing evidence in the literature on the recent employment problems of minorities and on hiring discrimination. I specifically consider the effectiveness of Equal Employment Opportunity laws and Affirmative Action programs in improving employment outcomes for minorities as well as females. I then provide new evidence from a recent survey of over 3000 employers on the determinants of hiring. I focus on employer skill needs and hiring procedures, as well as the racial mix of the firm's applicants and customers, in determining employment outcomes for minorities and females. Employer use of Affirmative Action in recruiting and hiring is considered as well. Finally, I consider the implications of these findings for the usefulness of antidiscrimination policies and other approaches for improving employment outcomes for less-skilled minorities.
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