Labor and Employment

MBE/WBE/DBE Availability and Disparity Studies

MBE/WBE/DBE Availability and Disparity Studies

NERA economists were among the first to recognize the importance of periodic evaluation of affirmative action programs in public contracting and procurement and we have specialized in conducting disparity and availability studies since the seminal City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co. decision in 1989. Our disparity studies evaluate goals established by federal, state, and local governments and help these agencies to develop effective and lawful affirmative action programs for procuring goods and services from businesses owned by minorities and women. We have delivered disparity studies to scores of public sector clients across the US, and have been retained to testify in numerous constitutional challenges to DBE/MBE/WBE programs.

With a reputation for independence and objectivity, our experts focus on the key factors -- such as firm size, time in business, qualifications, and experience -- that are likely to be adversely impacted by discrimination. We look beyond an agency's specific contracting activities and analyze disparities in the marketplace as a whole to provide a more accurate and relevant picture of the state of business discrimination in a particular geographic region and industry sector. Our researchers specialize in creating, organizing, analyzing, and interpreting large and complex national and regional databases for this purpose.

The results of our unique approach to conducting disparity research have been dramatic. In every case, public programs based upon our studies have withstood legal challenge -- at summary judgment, at trial, and on appeal. NERA disparity studies helped the City of Chicago to establish the continuing compelling need for its MBE/WBE program and formed the basis for Court of Appeals decisions to uphold Denver's MBE/WBE program (10th Circuit), the State of Minnesota's DBE program (8th Circuit), and the State of Illinois' DBE program (7th Circuit). We have been called upon by Congress on several occasions to testify on these issues and were entrusted by the National Academy of Sciences to produce national guidelines for conducting disparity and availability studies.

Name Title Location Phone Email
Dr. Jon Wainwright Managing Director Austin
Chicago
+1 512 383 4802
+1 312 573 2800
jon.wainwright@nera.com
Drew Claxton Associate Director New York City +1 212 345 3442 drew.claxton@nera.com