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Are Wage Premiums for Black Women Illusory? A Critical Examination

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  • Peter McHenry

    () (Department of Economics, College of William and Mary)

  • Melissa McInerney

    () (Department of Economics, College of William and Mary)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter McHenry & Melissa McInerney, 2012. "Are Wage Premiums for Black Women Illusory? A Critical Examination," Working Papers 120, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwm:wpaper:120
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    File URL: http://economics.wm.edu/wp/cwm_wp120.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dumond, J Michael & Hirsch, Barry T & Macpherson, David A, 1999. "Wage Differentials across Labor Markets and Workers: Does Cost of Living Matter?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(4), pages 577-598, October.
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    3. 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, March.
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    5. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2013. "The Feasibility and Importance of Adding Measures of Actual Experience to Cross-Sectional Data Collection," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(S1), pages 17-58.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Heather Antecol & Kelly Bedard, 2004. "The Racial Wage Gap: The Importance of Labor Force Attachment Differences across Black, Mexican, and White Men," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
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    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
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