Prejudice and Wages: An Empirical Assessment of Becker's The Economics of Discrimination
We test the predictions from Becker's (1957) seminal work on employer prejudice and find that relative black wages (a) vary negatively with the prejudice of the "marginal" white in a state, (b) vary negatively with the prejudice in the lower tail of the prejudice distribution but are unaffected by the prejudice of the most prejudiced persons in a state, and (c) vary negatively with the fraction of a state that is black. Our estimates suggest that one-quarter of the racial wage gap is due to prejudice, with nontrivial consequences for black lifetime earnings. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.
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