should be involved in the design of the program. The program should include studies not only of disparities, but also of the many variables that may explain observed disparities, including the possible role of discrimination in various stages of the contracting process and, to the extent feasible, in the processes of small business formation and development.

Findings from carefully specified case studies and statistical analyses could help refine a regular series of disparity ratio estimates and contribute to analyses of discrimination and other factors as possible explanations for observed disparities. Such findings could also help the SBA refine its assistance and mentoring programs for small businesses and help contracting agencies improve their support for small businesses that seek to enter and be successful in the federal contracting market.

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