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Who Gets the Good Jobs?: Combating Race and Gender Disparities Paperback – July 1, 2001

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Racial and gender employment inequalities are alive and well today. In 2000, the U.S. government offered $508 million to settle more than one thousand lawsuits brought against the federally funded Voice of America by female workers. At the same time, African American employees of Coca-Cola sued their employer, citing the large number of minorities in low-paying jobs, with just a handful at top levels. Even Alan Greenspan has urged firms to eliminate the "distortions that arise as a result of discrimination."

The political agenda regarding this issue is polarized. Many conservative economists claim that financial considerations have led businesses to hire minorities because such practices increase profits. In opposition, many liberal economists believe businesses will hire minorities only if forced to do so by equal employment opportunity policies. Robert Cherry bridges these two positions, arguing that there is some truth to the positive effect of the profit motive, but that market forces alone are not enough to eliminate employment and earnings disparities.

Cherry surveys the political and economic forces that influenced labor market practices in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, focusing on the employment barriers African Americans, women, and immigrants encountered. He then assesses the effects of 1960s civil rights legislation and finds that improvements have been substantial, primarily for college-educated African Americans and women; therefore, he recommends that equal employment opportunity policies be strengthened. Cherry demonstrates how the promotion of full employment can further the advancement of working-class African Americans and women.

About the Author

Robert Cherry is Brueklundian Professor in the Department of Economics at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York and author of many books, including Who Gets the Good Jobs: Combating Race and Gender Disparities and Welfare Transformed: Universalizing Family Policies that Work.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press (July 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813529212
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813529219
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,400,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mary King on December 1, 2002
Format: Library Binding
Robert Cherry has written an impressive and important book on the history and status of economic disparities and policies related to race and gender in the United States. Drawing on years of study, particularly of African American economic progress, Cherry (p. xiii) has "struggled to find compatibility between [his] head and [his] heart," tackling tough, controversial questions forthrightly. In this book Cherry has set himself to assess the source and extent of the economic progress of people of color and white women in the U.S., the effectiveness of particular policies to assist that progress, the role of a capitalist economy in exploiting or eroding disparities and--courageously--to confront the orthodoxies of both large camps on these questions, including those of his own earlier days.
I recommend this book highly--for students and for social scientists both in and outside the field. Bob Cherry is a strong scholar, and he's written an important, accessible, substantial book.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent, nuanced, historically grounded discussion of affirmative action and other attempts to diversify the work force and make it more egalitarian. It says a lot about our times that Cherry has to even make the case that discrimination exists! "Who Gets the Good Jobs?" would make a terrific assignment for economics classes--political science classes too.
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Format: Library Binding
Cherry proposes a middle ground between the view that capitalism reduces discriminatory practices and the position that capitalism benefits from, or at least can coexist with, discriminatory practices. He stresses the relevance of both theory and historical context for comprehending current levels and patterns of race and gender discrimination. After considering how the profit motive may discipline owners to be nondiscriminatory, Cherry discusses a number of reasons why discrimination might increase--or at least minimally affect--profits, including limited productivity differentials among applicants, consumer preferences, group profiling, imperfect product market competition, divide-and-conquer strategies, and efficiency wages. Thus, it is plausible that discriminatory sectors could persist in a generally free market system. Subsequent chapters take up in turn discrimination by race, gender, and immigrant status, as well as considering class disparities throughout. Policy discussions include the role of affirmative action in hiring, contract awards, and university admissions (where Cherry favors the former, but not the latter two forms), as well as arguments in support of pay equity and a higher minimum wage. Overall, the book is a helpful synthesis of the relevant literature, and a lucid, measured treatment of important issues.
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