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World War II and African American Socioeconomic Progress

Author

Listed:
  • Ferrara, Andreas

    (Department of Economics and CAGE University of Warwick)

Abstract

This paper argues that the unprecedented socioeconomic rise of African Americans at mid-century is causally related to the labor shortages induced by WWII. Results from combining novel military and Census data in a di erence-in-differences setting show that counties with an average casualty rate among semi-skilled whites experienced a 13 to 16% increase in the share of blacks in semi-skilled jobs. The casualty rate also has a significant reduced form effect on cross-state migration, wages, home ownership, house value, and education for blacks. Using survey data from 1961, IV regression results indicate that the economic upgrade, which is instrumented with the semi-skilled white casualty rate, is also associated with an increase in social status. Both black and white individuals living in treated counties are more likely to have an interracial friendship, live in mixed-race neighborhoods, and to have reduced preferences for segregation

Suggested Citation

  • Ferrara, Andreas, 2018. "World War II and African American Socioeconomic Progress," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 387, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:387
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    File URL: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/centres/cage/manage/publications/387-2018_ferrara.pdf
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    African-Americans ; Inequality ; Race-Relations ; World War II JEL Classification: J15 ; J24 ; N42;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • N42 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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