Date of Award

5-1-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Hashim T. Gibrill

Second Advisor

Dr. Abi Awomolo

Third Advisor

Dr. William H. Boone

Abstract

This study examines the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Act) on black and Latino unemployment. This study is based on the premise that blacks and Latinos were negatively affected by the Great Recession and its economic phenomena. A case study impact analysis approach was used to draw conclusions from the data gathered from governmental document obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the United States as a whole and the cities of Atlanta, Georgia, and Los Angeles, California. The researcher found that during the Great Recession black and Latino rates of unemployment were as severe as national unemployment during the early years of the Great Depression, yet the Act was focused on macro-economic issues versus the microeconomic employment issues found among black and Latino communities. The black unemployment rate in the city of Atlanta rose from 9.8% in 2007 to 24.1 % in 2010. In Los Angeles, California the black unemployment rate rose from 9.2% in 2007 to 22.6% in 2010. The white unemployment rate in these cities never reached higher than 12.9% in 2010. The Latino rate of unemployment in Atlanta, Georgia rose from 6.3% in 2007 to 10.3% in 2010. In Los Angeles the Latino unemployment rate rose from 5.8% in 2007 to 14.2% in 2010. In 2010 the number of blacks and Latinos unemployed rose by 9.4% and 5.1% respectively. The number of whites unemployed rose by only 2.5%. The Act focuses on a top down approach to the economy— a macroeconomic response to the recession, versus an approach that would assist those most impacted by the Great Recession with a microeconomic response. The conclusions drawn from the findings of this study suggest that the Act failed to address the structural employment and unemployment conditions of blacks and Latinos; failed to meet its stated goal to assist those most impacted by the recession; was effective at targeting macro-level unemployment; has been inadequate to positively affect micro-level unemployment in black and Latino communities. Blacks and Latinos across the United States, and in cities experience higher levels of unemployment during recessions and recoveries as have been reported by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The significance of this research is in its critical case study analysis of the impact of the largest stimulus bill ever passed by Congress and signed by a United States president. This research informs government and politics, adds significantly to the understanding of policy choices. Specifically this research is significant in explaining the extent to which the Act impacts the employment disparities among blacks and Latinos.

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