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The Wage Gains of African-American Women in the 1940s

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  • BAILEY, MARTHA J.
  • COLLINS, WILLIAM J.

Abstract

The 1940s marked a turning point in the labor market outcomes of African-American women. They experienced large wage gains relative to white women, sharp declines in agricultural and domestic service work, and significant increases in formal sector employment. Using a semiparametric decomposition technique, we assess the influence of changes in productive and personal characteristics, in workers distribution across occupations and locations, and in the wage structure on both black women s absolute wage gains and those relative to white women s. We argue that the pattern of changes is most consistent with increasing demand for their labor in the formal sector.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 66 (2006)
Issue (Month): 03 (September)
Pages: 737-777

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:66:y:2006:i:03:p:737-777_00

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  1. Claudia Goldin, 1990. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gold90-1, octubre-d.
  2. Claudia Goldin & Robert A. Margo, 1991. "The Great Compression: The Wage Structure in the United States at Mid- Century," NBER Working Papers 3817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Donohue, John J, III & Heckman, James, 1991. "Continuous versus Episodic Change: The Impact of Civil Rights Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1603-43, December.
  4. Smith, James P, 1984. "Race and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 685-98, September.
  5. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
  6. Goldin, Claudia D, 1991. "The Role of World War II in the Rise of Women's Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 741-56, September.
  7. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Carola Frydman & Raven Molloy, 2011. "Pay Cuts for the Boss: Executive Compensation in the 1940s," NBER Working Papers 17303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Martha J. Bailey & William J. Collins, 2009. "Did Improvements in Household Technology Cause the Baby Boom? Evidence from Electrification, Appliance Diffusion, and the Amish," NBER Working Papers 14641, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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