The evolution of civil rights enforcement and economic prosperity of minorities
Despite the existence of a vast literature on U.S. labor market discrimination, there is still a lack of empirical evidence on the degree to which the private enforcement of anti-discrimination legislation through the federal courts has influenced racial divides in earnings and other socioeconomic outcomes. Using the Federal Court Cases: Integrated Data Base on Civil Terminations, the authors will create a set of comprehensive measures of civil rights enforcement at the court level, providing the opportunity to track changes in enforcement across 90 U.S. District Courts between 1970 and 2019.
These measures of enforcement will be linked to socioeconomic outcomes using data at the individual and household levels in order to shed light on how enforcement of civil rights legislation via the courts influence labor market outcomes and intergenerational mobility of minority groups. In addition, the authors will create a comprehensive dataset on the political party composition of judges across courts and over time to examine how presidential appointees have influenced the evolution of civil rights enforcement and their implications for racial inequities in U.S. labor market outcomes and intergenerational income mobility.