federal government prime contract awards and 65 percent of total federal contracting expenditures in any given year.

Chapter 4 defines concepts of disparity and representation, responding to congressional interest in measures of representation. The chapter considers a range of issues in constructing disparity measures, including the strengths and weaknesses of available data for estimation, and it critiques the SBA preliminary study and other studies. Chapter 5 considers the difficult challenges of inferring the reasons for observed disparities, including the possible role of discriminatory practices or behaviors. Chapter 6 presents the committee’s major conclusion regarding the SBA preliminary study and recommendations for revised disparity ratio estimates, more useful reports on federal contracting, collection of data on subcontracting, and development of a research agenda for women-owned small businesses in federal contracting.

Following a section of references, two appendixes provide additional background information. Appendix A includes the workshop agenda and participants, and Appendix B provides biographical sketches of committee members and staff.

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