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The Political Economy of Race, 1940-1964: The Adoption of State-Level Fair Employment Legislation


  • William J. Collins


This paper traces the diffusion of fair employment legislation at the state level and evaluates the relative importance of various demographic, political, and economic factors in the promotion (or at least the acceptance) of the principle of government-enforced anti-discrimination policy. The empirics indicate that non-southern states with higher proportions of union members, Jews, and Catholics tended to adopt fair employment legislation sooner than other states. There is weaker evidence that after controlling for other characteristics, the likelihood of passage was lower in states dominated by the Republican Party and that there were spillover or contagion effects across states. The proportion of the population that was black does not appear to have shortened the time to adoption.

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  • William J. Collins, 2000. "The Political Economy of Race, 1940-1964: The Adoption of State-Level Fair Employment Legislation," NBER Historical Working Papers 0128, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberhi:0128 Note: DAE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kiefer, Nicholas M, 1988. "Economic Duration Data and Hazard Functions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 646-679, June.
    2. William M. Landes, 1968. "The Economics of Fair Employment Laws," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 507-507.
    3. Leonard, Jonathan S, 1984. "Employment and Occupational Advance under Affirmative Action," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(3), pages 377-385, August.
    4. George J. Stigler, 1974. "Free Riders and Collective Action: An Appendix to Theories of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 5(2), pages 359-365, Autumn.
    5. Wright, Gavin, 1999. "The Civil Rights Revolution as Economic History," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(02), pages 267-289, June.
    6. Roback, Jennifer, 1986. "The Political Economy of Segregation: The Case of Segregated Streetcars," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(04), pages 893-917, December.
    7. Smith, James P & Welch, Finis R, 1989. "Black Economic Progress after Myrdal," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 519-564, June.
    8. Shughart, William F, II & Tollison, Robert D, 1985. "Corporate Chartering: An Exploration in the Economics of Legal Change," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 23(4), pages 585-599, October.
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