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Race and Earnings Mobility in the US

Author

Listed:
  • John A. Bishop

    (East Carolina University)

  • Juan Gabriel Rodríguez

    (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

  • Lester A. Zeager

    (East Carolina University)

Abstract

We investigate the racial differences in positional and directional earning mobility for blacks and whites using seven 6-year longitudinal samples drawn from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, extending from 1973 through 2015. Positional mobility comparisons are mixed for the proportion of each sample moving to a higher earnings category but reveal a higher percentage of blacks than whites trapped in the bottom 25% of the distribution of earnings. Directional mobility comparisons show that the mean increase from the initial to final earnings distribution was significantly greater for whites than for blacks throughout 1973–85 and 1997–2009. A breakdown of these findings by gender reveals that they arise primarily from the labor market experience of black men, who face more severe racial disparities in positional and directional earning mobility than black women. Overall, these findings on intragenerational earning mobility are in line with recent research on intergenerational mobility in the US.

Suggested Citation

  • John A. Bishop & Juan Gabriel Rodríguez & Lester A. Zeager, 2021. "Race and Earnings Mobility in the US," Journal of Economics, Race, and Policy, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 166-182, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joerap:v:4:y:2021:i:3:d:10.1007_s41996-021-00082-5
    DOI: 10.1007/s41996-021-00082-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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