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The Prison Boom and the Lack of Black Progress after Smith and Welch

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  • Derek Neal
  • Armin Rick
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    Abstract

    More than two decades ago, Smith and Welch (1989) used the 1940 through 1980 census files to document important relative black progress. However, recent data indicate that this progress did not continue, at least among men. The growth of incarceration rates among black men in recent decades combined with the sharp drop in black employment rates during the Great Recession have left most black men in a position relative to white men that is really no better than the position they occupied only a few years after the Civil Rights Act of 1965. A move toward more punitive treatment of arrested offenders drove prison growth in recent decades, and this trend is evident among arrested offenders in every major crime category. Changes in the severity of corrections policies have had a much larger impact on black communities than white communities because arrest rates have historically been much greater for blacks than whites.

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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 20283.

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    Date of creation: Jul 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20283

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    Cited by:
    1. Xavier D'Haultfoeuille & Arnaud Maurel & Yichong Zhang, 2014. "Extremal Quantile Regressions for Selection Models and the Black-White Wage Gap," NBER Working Papers 20257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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