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Are Wage Premiums for Black Women Illusory? A Critical Examination

  • Peter McHenry


    (Department of Economics, College of William and Mary)

  • Melissa McInerney


    (Department of Economics, College of William and Mary)

Recent evidence documents a wage premium for black women (e.g., Fryer, 2011). However, we find no strong evidence of a premium after accounting for selection into the labor market; years of education attained, conditional on ability; and local cost of living. We find modest evidence of heterogeneous effects by education-small premiums for highly educated black women and penalties for black women with less education. Controlling for actual experience yields estimates at the low end of previously published premiums, but the possibility of discrimination in hiring and firing implies that controls for actual experience may be inappropriate.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, College of William and Mary in its series Working Papers with number 120.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 09 Apr 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cwm:wpaper:120
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  1. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2011. "The Feasibility and Importance of Adding Measures of Actual Experience to Cross-Sectional Data Collection," NBER Working Papers 17241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Heather Antecol & Kelly Bedard, 2001. "The Racial Wage Gap: The Importance of Labor Force Attachment Differences Across Black, Mexican and White Men," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2001-35, Claremont Colleges.
  3. Kevin Lang & Michael Manove, 2006. "Education and Labor-Market Discrimination," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2006-008, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  4. Dan Black & Natalia Kolesnikova & Seth Sanders & Lowell Taylor, 2013. "The role of location in evaluating racial wage disparity," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-18, December.
  5. DuMond J.M. & Hisch, B.T. & Macpherson, D.A., 1996. "Wage Differentials Across Labor Markets and Workers: Does Cost of Living Matter?," Working Papers 1996_08_01, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
  6. Amitabh Chandra, 2003. "Is the Convergence of the Racial Wage Gap Illusory?," NBER Working Papers 9476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Yankow, Jeffrey J., 2006. "Why do cities pay more? An empirical examination of some competing theories of the urban wage premium," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 139-161, September.
  8. Amitabh Chandra, 2000. "Labor-Market Dropouts and the Racial Wage Gap: 1940-1990," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 333-338, May.
  9. Peter McHenry, 2014. "The Geographic Distribution Of Human Capital: Measurement Of Contributing Mechanisms," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2), pages 215-248, 03.
  10. Dan A. Black & Amelia M. Haviland & Seth G. Sanders & Lowell J. Taylor, 2008. "Gender Wage Disparities among the Highly Educated," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(3), pages 630-659.
  11. Jonathan Fisher & Christina Houseworth, 2012. "The reverse wage gap among educated White and Black women," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 10(4), pages 449-470, December.
  12. Roland G. Fryer, Jr. & Devah Pager & Jörg L. Spenkuch, 2013. "Racial Disparities in Job Finding and Offered Wages," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(3), pages 633 - 689.
  13. Heather Antecol & Kelly Bedard, . "The Relative Earnings of Young Mexican, Black, and White Women," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 1999-02, Claremont Colleges.
  14. David Y. Albouy, 2008. "The Unequal Geographic Burden of Federal Taxation," NBER Working Papers 13995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. June E. O'Neill & Dave M. O'Neill, 2005. "What Do Wage Differentials Tell Us about Labor Market Discrimination?," NBER Working Papers 11240, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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