Minority employment in the construction trades

Abstract

This paper examines employment in the construction trades by race and skill level across 162 large U.S. metropolitan areas. The results reveal significant negative wage and positive scale effects on construction employment, especially for minorities and laborers, and thus imply that repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires “prevailing wages ” to be paid on federally funded construction projects, would yield substantial efficiency and equity gains. Conservative estimates suggest that Davis-Bacon repeal would increase construction employment by at least 36,000, including jobs for 27,000 minorities and 10,000 laborers.

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I am grateful to Burt Barnow, Barry Hirsch, and the anonymous referee for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper; Barry Hirsch and David Macpherson for preparing and thoroughly answering questions regarding their database provided to me through the Bureau of National Affairs; and Mindy Berry for careful research assistance.

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Bloch, F. Minority employment in the construction trades. J Labor Res 24, 271–291 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02701793

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Keywords

  • Wage Rate
  • Skilled Worker
  • Construction Worker
  • Union Membership
  • Prevailing Wage