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Selection and Economic Gains in the Great Migration of African Americans: New Evidence from Linked Census Data

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  • William J. Collins
  • Marianne H. Wanamaker

Abstract

The onset of World War I spurred the "Great Migration" of African Americans from the US South, arguably the most important internal migration in US history. We create a new panel dataset of more than 5,000 men matched from the 1910 to 1930 census manuscripts to address three interconnected questions: To what extent was there selection into migration? How large were the migrants' gains? Did migration narrow the racial gap in economic status? We find evidence of positive selection, but the migrants' gains were large. A substantial amount of black-white convergence in this period is attributable to migration.

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  • 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 220-252, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:6:y:2014:i:1:p:220-52
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.6.1.220
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Margo, Robert A., 2016. "Obama, Katrina, and the Persistence of Racial Inequality," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 76(02), pages 301-341, June.
    2. Krzysztof Karbownik & Anthony Wray, 2016. "Long-run Consequences of Exposure to Natural Disasters," CESifo Working Paper Series 6196, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Campaniello, Nadia & Gray, Rowena & Mastrobuoni, Giovanni, 2016. "Returns to education in criminal organizations: Did going to college help Michael Corleone?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 242-258.
    4. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0625-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Boustan, 2017. "Immigration in American Economic History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1311-1345, December.
    6. Jason Long & Henry E. Siu, 2016. "Refugees From Dust and Shrinking Land: Tracking the Dust Bowl Migrants," NBER Working Papers 22108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Katherine Eriksson, 2015. "Access to Schooling and the Black-White Incarceration Gap in the Early 20th Century US South: Evidence from Rosenwald Schools," NBER Working Papers 21727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Rohan Alexander & Zachary Ward, 2018. "Age at Arrival and Assimilation during the Age of Mass Migration," CEH Discussion Papers 03, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    9. William J. Collins & Marianne H. Wanamaker, 2017. "Up from Slavery? African American Intergenerational Economic Mobility Since 1880," NBER Working Papers 23395, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Campaniello, N & Gray, R & Mastrobuoni, G, 2015. "Returns to Education and Experience in Criminal Organizations: Evidence from the Italian-American Mafia," Economics Discussion Papers 13795, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    11. Ran Abramitzky & Roy Mill & Santiago Pérez, 2018. "Linking Individuals Across Historical Sources: a Fully Automated Approach," NBER Working Papers 24324, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. repec:eee:exehis:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:37-52 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Celeste K. Carruthers & Marianne H. Wanamaker, 2017. "Separate and Unequal in the Labor Market: Human Capital and the Jim Crow Wage Gap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(3), pages 655-696.
    14. Parman, John, 2015. "Childhood health and sibling outcomes: Nurture Reinforcing nature during the 1918 influenza pandemic," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 22-43.
    15. Michael A. Clemens & Claudio Montenegro & Lant Pritchett, 2016. "Bounding the Price Equivalent of Migration Barriers," CID Working Papers 316, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    16. repec:eee:jcjust:v:54:y:2018:i:c:p:41-49 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Ran Abramitzky, 2015. "Economics and the Modern Economic Historian," NBER Working Papers 21636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Xie, Bin, 2017. "The Effects of Immigration Quotas on Wages, the Great Black Migration, and Industrial Development," IZA Discussion Papers 11214, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. repec:eee:deveco:v:129:y:2017:i:c:p:29-46 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Shari Eli & Laura Salisbury & Allison Shertzer, 2016. "Migration Responses to Conflict: Evidence from the Border of the American Civil War," NBER Working Papers 22591, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. repec:esx:essedp:763 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N92 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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