THE IMPACT OF PUBLIC SECTOR EMPLOYMENT ON RACIAL INEQUALITY: 1950 TO 1984 (BLACK, AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, GOVERNMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, LABOR)
The models of racial discrimination developed and the detailed empirical analysis of the post World War II U.S. economy are consistent with the two central hypotheses: (1) there is no dominant tendency within U.S. capitalism towards elimination of racial discrimination, and (2) until the late 1970's, public sector employment increased racial equality.
Neoclassical models of racial discrimination and related empirical studies are criticized: (1) for emphasizing one aspect of racial equality, earnings, while de-emphasizing unemployment because of the difficulty of integrating it into neoclassical theory; (2) for incorrectly theorizing production as a purely technical process resulting in a one-sided emphasis on market forces for racial equality while abstracting from tendencies that reproduce inequality; and (3) for failing to analyze the distinct behavior and outcomes between the public and private sector. Blacks are more likely than whites, and increasingly so, to work in the public sector, and their proportion of private sector employment is declining.
A social relations theory of production based on cooperation and conflicts among black employees, white employees and employers is constructed. The likely equilibrium is racial inequality in earnings and employment. Other results derived are that improvement in earnings by race decrease black employment, and growth of government employment or affirmative action causes black to white earnings and employment to increase.
The implications of the model are consistent with actual trends. It is demonstrated that black to white earnings grew until the mid 1970's for both men and women, and have been stationary since. Further the relation between black and white unemployment has substantially worsened since 1975. Both trends are shown to be statistically significant. A cause of the deterioration in the relation between black and white unemployment rates is the stagnation of government employment.
The study concludes with an analysis of present public policy. The author finds that current attacks on affirmative action and cutbacks in human services and public sector employment have halted progress towards racial equality and will increase inequality in earnings and unemployment between blacks and whites, and among blacks.
0325: African Americans