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Persistent Advantage or Disadvantage?: Evidence in Support of the Intergenerational Drag Hypothesis


Author Info

  • William Darity

    (University of North Carolina,)

  • Jason Dietrich
  • David K. Guilkey


By utilizing the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) and a measure of occupational prestige (OCCSCORE) as a labor market outcome, the authors examine variations in the degree of labor market discrimination faced by several ethnic and racial groups in the United States between 1880 and 1990. Results demonstrate that the sharpest decline in labor market discrimination against blacks occurred between 1960 and 1980. For black males the extent of labor market discrimination was greater in all census years in IPUMS after 1880 until 1970, evidence contradicting the conventional expectation that market-based discrimination will decline progressively over time by dint of competitive pressure. Finally, after replicating George Borjas' "ethnic capital" exercise, the authors pool the 1880, 1900, and 1910 data to determine the relative magnitude of a group's gains and losses in occupational prestige due to group advantage or disadvantage in human capital endowments and due to favorable or unfavorable treatment (nepotism or discrimination) of those endowments in the labor market. The authors then examine statistically whether the group human capital advantage or disadvantage and group exposure to nepotism or discrimination at the turn of the century affects labor market outcomes for their descendants today. Results indicate strong effects of the past on present labor market outcomes. Hence, the essence of the study is the statistical demonstration that there are significant and detectable effects on current generations of the labor market experiences of their racial/ethnic ancestors. Copyright 2001 The American Journal of Economics and Sociology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal The American Journal of Economics and Sociology.

Volume (Year): 60 (2001)
Issue (Month): 2 (04)
Pages: 435-470

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ajecsc:v:60:y:2001:i:2:p:435-470

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Cited by:
  1. Phillip O’Hara, 2004. "A new family-community social structure," Forum for Social Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 51-80, March.
  2. Hamilton, Darrick & Goldsmith, Arthur H. & Darity Jr., William, 2009. "Shedding "light" on marriage: The influence of skin shade on marriage for black females," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 30-50, October.
  3. Meerman, Jacob, 2005. "Oppressed people: Economic mobility of the socially excluded," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 542-567, August.
  4. Bogan, Vicki & Darity Jr., William, 2008. "Culture and entrepreneurship? African American and immigrant self-employment in the United States," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1999-2019, October.
  5. Bruce Sacerdote, 2005. "Slavery and the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 217-234, May.
  6. William Darity Jr & Dania Frank, 2003. "The Economics of Reparations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 326-329, May.
  7. William Darity, 2004. "The wellspring of racial inequality," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 61-68, December.
  8. Grossbard, Shoshana & Gimenez-Nadal, Jose Ignacio & Molina, José Alberto, 2010. "Racial Discrimination and Household Chores," IZA Discussion Papers 5345, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).


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