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

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  • Leah Platt Boustan

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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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13813.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
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Publication status: published as Boustan, Leah Platt, 2009. "Competition in the Promised Land: Black Migration and Racial Wage Convergence in the North, 1940?1970," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(03), pages 755-782, September.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13813

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Cited by:
  1. Susanne Prant & Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2014. "Interacting Product and Labor Market Regulation and the Impact of Immigration on Native Wages," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2014003, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
  2. William J. Collins & Marianne H. Wanamaker, 2013. "Selection and Economic Gains in the Great Migration of African Americans: New Evidence from Linked Census Data," NBER Working Papers 19124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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