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Female Labor Force Participation: The Origin of Black and White Differences, 1870 and 1880

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  • Goldin, Claudia

Abstract

Although white women have only recently entered the work force, their black counterparts have participated throughout American history. Differences between their rates of participation have been recorded only for the post-1890 period and analyzed only for the post-1940 period due to a lack of available data. To remedy this deficiency my work explores female labor supply at the dawn of emanicipation, 1870 and 1880, in seven southern cities, using data drawn from the manuscripts of the population census. Probit regression techniques demonstrate that economic and demographic variables explain only part of the difference between black and white women and, as in the findings of contemporary research, race is shown to be an important factor. Several explanations are discussed, in particular one relying on socialization differences which are termed a “legacy of slavery.â€

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  • Goldin, Claudia, 1977. "Female Labor Force Participation: The Origin of Black and White Differences, 1870 and 1880," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(1), pages 87-108, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:37:y:1977:i:01:p:87-108_09
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephan E. Maurer & Andrei V. Potlogea, 2021. "Male‐biased Demand Shocks and Women's Labour Force Participation: Evidence from Large Oil Field Discoveries," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 88(349), pages 167-188, January.
    2. Daniela Vidart, 2021. "Human Capital, Female Employment, and Electricity: Evidence from the Early 20th Century United States," Working papers 2021-08, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    3. Graziella Bertocchi, 2016. "The legacies of slavery in and out of Africa," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-19, December.
    4. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2020. "Bitter Sugar: Slavery and the Black Family," GLO Discussion Paper Series 564, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    5. Bethany Everett & David Rehkopf & Richard Rogers, 2013. "The Nonlinear Relationship Between Education and Mortality: An Examination of Cohort, Race/Ethnic, and Gender Differences," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 32(6), pages 893-917, December.
    6. Sundstrom, William A., 2001. "Discouraging Times: The Labor Force Participation of Married Black Women, 1930-1940," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 123-146, January.
    7. Janet L. Yellen, 2017. "So We All Can Succeed: 125 Years of Women's Participation in the Economy : a speech at \"125 Years of Women at Brown Conference,\" sponsored by Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, Ma," Speech 952, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. Joanna N. Lahey, 2017. "Understanding Why Black Women Are Not Working Longer," NBER Chapters, in: Women Working Longer: Increased Employment at Older Ages, pages 85-109, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. William J. Collins & Michael Q. Moody, 2017. "Racial Differences in American Women's Labor Market Outcomes: A Long-Run View," NBER Working Papers 23397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Margo, Robert A., 2016. "Obama, Katrina, and the Persistence of Racial Inequality," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 76(2), pages 301-341, June.
    11. Nina Banks, 2006. "Uplifting The Race Through Domesticity: Capitalism, African-American Migration, And The Household Economy In The Great Migration Era Of 1916—1930," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 599-624.
    12. Graziella Bertocchi & Arcangelo Dimico, 2020. "Bitter Sugar: Slavery and the Black Family," Department of Economics 0172, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    13. Graziella Bertocchi, 2016. "The Legacies of Slavery in and out of Africa," Department of Economics 0096, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    14. Leah Platt Boustan & Carola Frydman & Robert A. Margo, 2014. "Introduction to "Human Capital in History: The American Record"," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital in History: The American Record, pages 1-14, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Ager, Philipp & Brueckner, Markus & Herz, Benedikt, 2017. "The boll weevil plague and its effect on the southern agricultural sector, 1889–1929," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 94-105.
    16. Tomaz Cajner & Tyler Radler & David Ratner & Ivan Vidangos, 2017. "Racial Gaps in Labor Market Outcomes in the Last Four Decades and over the Business Cycle," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-071, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    17. Deirdre Bloome & Christopher Muller, 2015. "Tenancy and African American Marriage in the Postbellum South," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(5), pages 1409-1430, October.

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