MBE policy as economic development: an examination of public contracting in Georgia
Dickson, Austin Cartwright
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Many scholars suggest that Minority Business Enterprises help disadvantaged populations and achieve greater equity in society. Rooted in the affirmative action policies of the 1960s and 1970s, Minority Business Enterprise designations have become a standard way for the federal government to assist minority entrepreneurs as well as protect against discrimination in contracting. Some scholars even suggest that these policies go beyond protection from discrimination and actually foster economic development in minority communities. This thesis examines those claims and utilizes an example from 12 years of the Georgia Department of Transportation's records on contracting with MBEs to answer the question: who is helped by these federal policies? This examination sheds light on the current literature linking MBEs with economic development as well as adds to the sparse literature on outcomes for MBE policy. The results of data analysis show that , over a 12-year period, White female business enterprises receive the twice as many contracting dollars as all other Minority Business Enterprises combined.