Building Research Capacity with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Awarded Scholars:
Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Project Date:
Sep 2013
Award Amount:
Project Programs:
Future of Work

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Since 1966, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been collecting data on private and state sector employment patterns. However, the EEOC has never used these data to evaluate the efficacy of their regulatory activity or to target particularly egregious employers for enforcement. Many federal regulatory agencies have access to administrative data but limited capacity to actually use the data in their enforcement activities. The EEOC is now in a planning process to more fully integrate available data into the enforcement process.

Sociologist Donald Tomaskovic-Devey will work with the EEOC to identify firms with particularly good and bad employment trajectories, where complaints are generated, and the influence of EEOC enforcement on future employer behavior. Specifically, he will merge private sector EE0-1 surveys into a workplace panel from 2007-2012. A similar panel for state and local government EEO-4 surveys will also be created. Within-year baseline local labor supply information will be produced by combining these panels with additional information from the Census Bureaus’ American Community Survey (ACS). This requires using ACS microdata to compute local labor market demographic composition. Baseline data will then be linked to workplace observations. Finally, EEOC charge data, which tracks discrimination complaints and EEOC regulatory responses, will be linked back to workplaces generating discrimination complaints since 2000.

Questions will focus on enhancing the enforcement capacity of the EEOC: Can they identify workplaces, firms, industries of localities with particularly egregious profiles? Can they improve enforcement effort by targeting workplaces, firms, industries of localities with particularly egregious profiles? The second set of research questions will evaluate the efficacy of current enforcement practices: What is the relationship between current EEOC enforcement choices (most complaints are not investigated) and firms actual hiring/promotion practices? Do current enforcement choices lead to better or worse employment distributions in the future?


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