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Black-White Earnings Over the 1970s and 1980s: Gender Differences in Trends

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  • Francine D. Blau
  • Andrea H. Beller

Abstract

This paper uses CPS data to analyze gender differences in black-white annual earnings trends over the 1970s and 1980s. We find that in at least two respects black women fared better than men over this period. First, due to decreasing relative annual time inputs for black males, but not black females, black women experienced increases in both annual earnings and estimated wages compared to white women, while black men gained only in terms of wages compared to white men. Second, since the gender earnings gap among whites was narrowing during this time, as black women's wages rose relative to white women's, they also made faster progress relative to white males than did black males. In other important respects, however, the experience of black men and women over the period was similar. First, for both groups, while earnings and wages relative to whites of the same sex rose during the 1970s, they stagnated or declined during the 1980s. Second, in contrast to the 1960s, younger blacks did not fare better than older blacks during the 1970s and 1980s. While in 1971, both unadjusted wage ratios and adjusted earnings ratios were highest within each sex group for labor market entrants, by 1988 these ratios were fairly similar across experience groups.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3736.

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Date of creation: Jun 1991
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Publication status: published as Review of Economics and Statistics, May 1992
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3736

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  1. O'Neill, June, 1990. "The Role of Human Capital in Earnings Differences between Black and White Men," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 25-45, Fall.
  2. 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.
  3. Reimers, Cordelia W, 1983. "Labor Market Discrimination against Hispanic and Black Men," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 570-79, November.
  4. Richard Butler & James J. Heckman, 1977. "The Government's Impact on the Labor Market Status of Black Americans: A Critical Review," NBER Working Papers 0183, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Lillard, Lee & Smith, James P & Welch, Finis, 1986. "What Do We Really Know about Wages? The Importance of Nonreporting and Census Imputation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 489-506, June.
  6. Charles F. Manski, 1989. "Anatomy of the Selection Problem," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(3), pages 343-360.
  7. William Darity, 1980. "Illusions of black economic progress," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 153-168, December.
  8. James P. Smith, 2004. "The Convergence to Racial Equality in Women's Wages," Labor and Demography 0402011, EconWPA.
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Cited by:
  1. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 1993. "Wage Dispersion, Returns to Skill, and Black-White Wage Differentials," NBER Working Papers 4365, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-94, December.
  3. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/9081 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Roland G. Fryer, Jr & Devah Pager & Jörg L. Spenkuch, 2011. "Racial Disparities in Job Finding and Offered Wages," NBER Working Papers 17462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Hurst, Michael, 1997. "The determinants of earnings differentials for indigenous Americans: Human capital, location, or discrimination?," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 787-807.
  6. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 1994. "Changing Wage Structure and Black-White Differentials Among Men and Women: A Longitudinal Analysis," NBER Working Papers 4755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo & Pietro Garibaldi & Christopher Pissarides & Etienne Wasmer, 2005. "Women in the Labour Force : How Well is Europe Doing ?," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/9081, Sciences Po.

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