2018 Disparity Study

The City of New Orleans Disparity Study analysed whether there is a level playing field for minority- and women-owned firms when competing for City contracts. The study team, led by Keen Independent Research, assessed what the City might do to increase opportunities for minority- and women-owned firms, and other small businesses.

It was hoped that the Disparity study results would help the City determine if its existing State and Local Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (SLDBE) Program is effective and if additional action is needed.

What is a disparity study?

A disparity study examines whether there are disparities between:

  • The percentage of dollars that minority- and women-owned businesses received on an agency’s prime contracts and subcontracts during a particular time period (referred to as a “utilization analysis”); and
  • The percentage of dollars that those firms might be expected to receive based on their availability to perform on the agency’s prime contracts and subcontracts (referred to as an “availability analysis”).

The comparison between the utilization of minority- and women-owned businesses on an agency’s contracts and the availability of those businesses to perform that work is referred to as a disparity analysis.

In addition to utilization, availability and disparity analyses, disparity studies examine quantitative and qualitative information about:

  • Marketplace conditions for minority- and women-owned businesses;
  • Contracting practices and business assistance programs that the agency currently has in place; and
  • Potential program measures.

What City contracts were examined in the study?

The study included City construction, professional services, goods and other services contracts awarded from 2012 through 2016.

Who was involved in completing the study?

Keen Independent Research LLC is an economic research firm that specializes in disparity studies. It has staff through the country, including New Orleans. David Keen, Annette Humm Keen (Principals) and Leslie Parker (Consultant) led the study.

Local sub consultants included Dr. Lee & Associates, The Villavaso Group, Spears Group, and Lucas Díaz. Other sub consultants were Abaci Research & Consulting and Holland & Knight.

An Oversight Committee of business and community stakeholders met quarterly to provide input throughout the study effort.