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The Wage Gains of African-American Women in the 1940s

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  • BAILEY, MARTHA J.
  • COLLINS, WILLIAM J.

Abstract

The 1940s marked a turning point in the labor market outcomes of African-American women. They experienced large wage gains relative to white women, sharp declines in agricultural and domestic service work, and significant increases in formal sector employment. Using a semiparametric decomposition technique, we assess the influence of changes in productive and personal characteristics, in workers' distribution across occupations and locations, and in the wage structure on both black women's absolute wage gains and those relative to white women's. We argue that the pattern of changes is most consistent with increasing demand for their labor in the formal sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Bailey, Martha J. & Collins, William J., 2006. "The Wage Gains of African-American Women in the 1940s," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(3), pages 737-777, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:66:y:2006:i:03:p:737-777_00
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Clemens, 2010. "A Labor Mobility Agenda for Development," Working Papers 201, Center for Global Development.
    2. 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.
    3. Martha J. Bailey & William J. Collins, 2011. "Did Improvements in Household Technology Cause the Baby Boom? Evidence from Electrification, Appliance Diffusion, and the Amish," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 189-217, April.
    4. Frydman, Carola & Molloy, Raven, 2012. "Pay Cuts for the Boss: Executive Compensation in the 1940s," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 225-251, March.
    5. Collins, William J., 2021. "The Great Migration of Black Americans from the US South: A guide and interpretation," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 80(C).
    6. Duque, Valentina & Schmitz, Lauren L., 2020. "The Influence of Early-life Economic Shocks on Long-term Outcomes: Evidence from the U.S. Great Depression," Working Papers 2020-11, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
    7. Saavedra, Martin & Twinam, Tate, 2020. "A machine learning approach to improving occupational income scores," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 75(C).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy

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