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Competition in the Promised Land: Black Migration and Racial Wage Convergence in the North, 1940–1970

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  • Boustan, Leah Platt

Abstract

Four million blacks left the South from 1940 to 1970, doubling the northern black workforce. I exploit variation in migrant flows within skill groups over time to estimate the elasticity of substitution by race. I then use this estimate to calculate counterfactual rates of wage growth. I find that black wages in the North would have been around 7 percent higher in 1970 if not for the migrant influx, while white wages would have remained unchanged. On net, migration was an avenue for black economic advancement, but the migration created both winners and losers.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 69 (2009)
Issue (Month): 03 (September)
Pages: 755-782

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:69:y:2009:i:03:p:755-782_00

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Cited by:
  1. William J. Collins & Marianne H. Wanamaker, 2014. "Selection and Economic Gains in the Great Migration of African Americans: New Evidence from Linked Census Data," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 220-52, January.
  2. Prantl, Susanne & Spitz-Oener, Alexandra, 2014. "Interacting product and labor market regulation and the impact of immigration on native wages," IAB Discussion Paper 201404, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].

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