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Racial Earnings Disparities and Family Structure


Author Info

  • William A. Darity Jr.
  • Samuel L. Myers Jr.
  • Chanjin Chung


One explanation for the widening of racial earnings gaps among family heads during the 1980s is that black families were increasingly headed by females during that period. This explanation is tested using data on black and white family heads in 1976 and 1985 from the Institute for Research on Poverty’s Current Population Survey. Log-earnings equations, corrected for selection bias and for the endogeneity of labor force participation, are estimated for blacks and whites in 1976 and 1985. If the impact of rising female-family headship on labor force participation is ignored, one finds support for the family structure explanation. But support for alternative explanations is also found. There are substantial impacts of within-race gender discrimination and of market racial discrimination. When the endogeneity of family structure is taken into account, further support is found for the view that endowment differences only explain a modest portion of the rising gap in earnings between black and white family heads.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 65 (1998)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 20-41

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Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:65:1:y:1998:p:20-41

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Cited by:
  1. Sai Ding & Shi Li & Samuel L. Myers, Jr., 2011. "Inter-temporal Changes in Ethnic Urban Earnings Disparities in China," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 201121, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  2. Li Shi & Ding Sai, 2009. "An Empirical Analysis of Income Inequality between a Minority and the Majority in Urban China: The Case of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd08-022, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  3. Linda Loubert, 2012. "The Plight of African American Women: Employed and Unemployed," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 39(4), pages 373-380, December.
  4. de Sousa, Semoa C.B. & Gebremedhin, Tesfa G. & Smith, Dennis K. & Colyer, Dale, 2001. "An Economic Analysis Of The Relationship Of Poverty And Income Inequality In Rural West Virginia," 2001 Annual meeting, August 5-8, Chicago, IL 20536, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  5. Manuel Carvajal, 2006. "Economic grounds for affirmative action: The evidence on architects and engineers in South Florida," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 64(4), pages 515-538.
  6. C. Henry, 1996. "The porter model of competitive advantage for inner-city development: An Appraisal," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 131-160, December.
  7. Desousa-Brown, Semoa & Gebremedhin, Tesfa G., 2004. "An Empirical Analysis Of Poverty And Income Inequality In West Virginia," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 20223, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).


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