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A Bivariate Probit Model of Attitudes Toward the Preferential Hiring and Promotion of Women and Black People


This paper examines the roles of biological sex, race, racist and sexist attitudes, social class, education, political ideology, and partisanship in forming individual attitudes toward affirmative action in the employment (AAE) of women and Black people. Unlike previous research, our empirical approach treats these attitudes as jointly determined, which affords the opportunity to assess previously unexamined, salient joint probabilities necessary for fully evaluating the extent to which such gender- and race-based AAE policies will be supported by the public. Results suggest the joint probability of supporting both affirmative action in employment of women and affirmative action in employment of Black people is less than 25 percent for the average person, regardless of racist/sexist attitudes, educational achievement, political ideology, party affiliation, or social class. More granular analyses predict even smaller probabilities for average White males and average White females. For Black females and Black people overall, predicted joint probabilities of support, though considerably higher, remain well below 50 percent. Overall, our results strongly suggest that garnering widespread public support for the preferential hiring and promotion of women and/or Black people will continue to be an uphill struggle.

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Correspondence to Ernest M. Zampelli.

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Yen, S.T., Zampelli, E.M. A Bivariate Probit Model of Attitudes Toward the Preferential Hiring and Promotion of Women and Black People. J Econ Race Policy 6, 82–101 (2023).

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