skip to content
Primary navigation


Reasons for a Disparity Study

The disparity study is examining whether there is evidence that discrimination affects minority- and women-owned firms in the marketplace and assesses measures to address any such discrimination. The study will also research conditions for veteran-owned businesses and companies owned by persons with disabilities.

The Minnesota Department of Administration initiated the disparity study in June 2016. Keen Independent Research will submit preliminary results to each participating entity. Preliminary results will be available for public review before the study is completed in early 2018.

The last State of Minnesota, Metropolitan Council, Metropolitan Airports Commission and Metropolitan Mosquito Control District disparity study was completed in 2009.

A City of Minneapolis disparity study was prepared in 2010.

The most recent City of St. Paul disparity study was completed in 2008.

Study Research Methods

For each of the participating entities, periodic disparity studies determine if there is evidence of discrimination affecting the procurement of construction, professional services, goods, and other services.

This 2017 Minnesota Joint Disparity Study will determine whether there are disparities between:

  • The percentage of dollars that minority- and women-owned businesses received on prime contracts and subcontracts during the study 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 those prime and subcontracts (referred to as an “availability analysis”).

The comparison between an entity’s utilization of minority- and women-owned businesses and the availability of those businesses to perform that work is referred to as “disparity analysis.”

To conduct the utilization analysis, the research team is collecting information about each participating entity’s prime contracts and subcontracts going to minority- and women-owned firms and other businesses for a five-year study period.

To prepare the availability analysis, the study team will conduct interviews with businesses providing construction, professional services, goods, and other services to compile information about their qualifications and interest in different types of contracts and subcontracts. The availability survey team will reach out to businesses throughout the state.

The study team will also conduct in-depth personal interviews with a cross-section of business owners and trade associations. The research team is also analyzing data about marketplace conditions for minority- and women-owned firms compared with other businesses.

back to top