In 1993 Brimelow and Spencer put a dollar figure the cost to Americans of affirmative action
GNP in 1991 was about $5.7 trillion. The total shortfall quotas may already have caused comes to some 4%. That's well over $225 billion, money that could buy a lot of social programs. Or finance a good deal of job-creating investment.
Nowadays econometrics types prefer GDP for reasons which are no doubt clear to the financial experts on the site; call it a 11.75 trillion, and you do the math. But in 1993 it was the first attempt to put a dollar figure on it, as of 2000 it was still the only estimate, and as far as I know, it is still.
Statistics expert La Griffe de Lion did an essay in 1999, [ AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: THE ROBIN HOOD EFFECT] saying that while affirmative action costs everyone, it costs some groups more than others:
Whenever someone gets preferential access to a job or a promotion because of his race or ethnicity, someone else of a different race or ethnicity gets displaced. In the U.S., the displaced person is usually a non-Hispanic white. The result is an income transfer from whites to "preferred" minorities. We call it the Robin Hood effect.