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The role of location in evaluating racial wage disparity

  • Dan Black
  • Natalia Kolesnikova
  • Seth G. Sanders
  • Lowell J. Taylor

A standard object of empirical analysis in labor economics is a modified Mincer wage function in which an individual's log wage is specified to be a function of education, experience, and an indicator variable identifying race. Researchers hope that estimates from this exercise can be informative about the impact of minority status on labor market success. Here we set out a theoretical justification for this regression in a context in which individuals live and work in different locations. Our model leads to the traditional approach, but with the important caveat that the regression should include location-specific fixed effects. Given this insight, we reevaluate evidence about the black-white wage disparity in the United States.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2009-043.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2009-043
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  1. Harmon, Oskar R., 1988. "The income elasticity of demand for single-family owner-occupied housing: An empirical reconciliation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 173-185, September.
  2. Dan Black & Natalia Kolesnikova & Lowell Taylor, 2009. "Earnings Functions When Wages and Prices Vary by Location," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 21-47, 01.
  3. 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.
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