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Speech Patterns and Racial Wage Inequality

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  • Jeffrey Grogger

Abstract

Speech patterns differ substantially between whites and African Americans. I collect and analyze data on speech patterns to understand the role they may play in explaining racial wage differences. Among blacks, speech patterns are highly correlated with measures of skill such as schooling and ASVAB scores. They are also highly correlated with the wages of young workers. Black speakers whose voices were distinctly identified as black by anonymous listeners earn about 10 percent less than whites with similar observable skills. Indistinctly identified blacks earn about 2 percent less than comparable whites. I discuss a number of models that may be consistent with these results and describe the data that one would need to distinguish among them.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey Grogger, 2008. "Speech Patterns and Racial Wage Inequality," Working Papers 0813, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:0813
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hedegaard, Morten & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2014. "The Price of Prejudice," CEPR Discussion Papers 9953, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Yao, Yuxin, 2017. "Essays on economics of language and family economics," Other publications TiSEM 0093bc8e-e869-4f87-8ff8-8, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    3. Bauernschuster, Stefan & Falck, Oliver & Heblich, Stephan & Suedekum, Jens & Lameli, Alfred, 2014. "Why are educated and risk-loving persons more mobile across regions?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 56-69.
    4. Ohinata, Asako & van Ours, Jan C. & Yao, Yuxin, 2016. "The Educational Consequences of Language Proficiency for Young Children," CEPR Discussion Papers 11183, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. repec:aea:aejapp:v:10:y:2018:i:1:p:40-63 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Falck, Oliver & Heblich, Stephan & Lameli, Alfred & Südekum, Jens, 2012. "Dialects, cultural identity, and economic exchange," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 225-239.
    7. Yao, Yuxin & Ohinata, Asako & van Ours, Jan, 2016. "The Education Consequences of Language Proficiency for Young Children," Discussion Paper 2016-009, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    8. Jan C. van Ours & Yuxin Yao, 2016. "The Wage Penalty of Dialect-Speaking," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-091/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    9. Falck, Oliver & Lameli, Alfred & Ruhose, Jens, 2015. "Cultural Biases in Migration: Estimating Non-Monetary Migration Costs," IZA Discussion Papers 8922, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. van Ours, Jan C. & Yao, Yuxin, 2016. "The Wage Penalty of Dialect-Speaking," CEPR Discussion Papers 11610, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Isphording, Ingo E., 2014. "Language and Labor Market Success," IZA Discussion Papers 8572, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Yao, Yuxin & Ohinata, Asako & van Ours, Jan C., 2016. "The educational consequences of language proficiency for young children," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 1-15.

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    Keywords

    speech patterns; wage; inequality; race;

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