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Continuous versus Episodic Change: The Impact of Civil Rights Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks

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  • Donohue, John J, III
  • Heckman, James

Abstract

This paper examines the available evidence on the causes of black economic advance in order to assess the contribution of federal policy. Over the period 1920-1990, there were only two periods of relative black economic improvement -- during the 1940s and in the decade following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the voting Rights Act of 1965, and the institution of the government contracts compliance program. Black migration from the South, a traditional source of economic gains for blacks, almost stopped at about this same time, and recent evidence on the impact of black schooling gains indicates that educational gains cannot explain the magnitude of black economic progress beginning in the mid-1960s.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Literature.

Volume (Year): 29 (1991)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 1603-43

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:29:y:1991:i:4:p:1603-43

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  1. Charles Brown, 1981. "The Federal Attack on Labor Market Discrimination: The Mouse that Roared?," NBER Working Papers 0669, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Donald Dewey, 1952. "Negro Employment in Southern Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60, pages 279.
  3. Margo, Robert A, 1986. "Race and Human Capital: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1221-24, December.
  4. Greg J. Duncan & Saul D. Hoffman, 1983. "A New Look at the Causes of the Improved Economic Status of Black Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(2), pages 268-282.
  5. James J. Heckman, 1989. "The Impact of Government on the Economic Status of Black Americans," NBER Working Papers 2860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. James J. Heckman & Brook S. Payner, 1989. "Determining the Impact of Federal Antidiscrimination Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks: A Study of South Carolina," NBER Working Papers 2854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Morris Goldstein & Robert S. Smith, 1976. "The estimated impact of the antidiscrimination program aimed at federal contractors," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 29(4), pages 523-543, July.
  8. Gregory J. Ahart, 1976. "A process evaluation of the contract compliance program in nonconstruction industry," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 29(4), pages 565-571, July.
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