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The Civil Rights Act and the Earnings of Lower Income Hispanic Men


  • Harriet Orcutt Duleep

    () (Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy, The College of William and Mary)

  • Mark C. Regets

    () (National Science Foundation)


This paper uses Social Security longitudinal earnings records matched to Current Population Survey data to examine changes in the relative earnings of Hispanic men during a period of dramatic change in public and private policies toward race and ethnicity characterized by, but not limited to, the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Our principle focus is to compare and contrast how lower income Hispanic and African-American men fared during the civil rights era relative to lower-income non- Hispanic whites. Although previous studies have analyzed black economic progress using annual data before and after the Civil Rights Act, this is the first study to do so for Hispanics. We follow a longitudinal sample of individuals who were in the labor market before and after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Following the same individuals holds constant an array of unmeasured variables such as labor force selectivity and schooling quality that may correlate with the post-1964 period; our approach addresses concerns that the results are the product of changes in these variables. Of particular note—we uncover a significant acceleration following the Civil Rights Act in the relative earnings of low-income Hispanic men.

Suggested Citation

  • Harriet Orcutt Duleep & Mark C. Regets, 2013. "The Civil Rights Act and the Earnings of Lower Income Hispanic Men," Working Papers 136, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwm:wpaper:136

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Donohue, John J, III & Heckman, James, 1991. "Continuous versus Episodic Change: The Impact of Civil Rights Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1603-1643, December.
    2. Leonard, Jonathan S, 1984. "The Impact of Affirmative Action on Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(4), pages 439-463, October.
    3. Reimers, Cordelia W, 1983. "Labor Market Discrimination against Hispanic and Black Men," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 570-579, November.
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    More about this item


    anti-discrimination legislation; minority economic progress; Mexican Americans; Hispanic; low income; Civil Rights Act; longitudinal administrative records;

    JEL classification:

    • J48 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Particular Labor Markets; Public Policy
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J78 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Public Policy (including comparable worth)
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

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