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Black-White Earnings Over the 1970s and 1980s: Gender Differences in Trends

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  • Francine D. Blau
  • Andrea H. Beller

Abstract

This paper uses CPS data to analyze gender differences in black-white annual earnings trends over the 1970s and 1980s. We find that in at least two respects black women fared better than men over this period. First, due to decreasing relative annual time inputs for black males, but not black females, black women experienced increases in both annual earnings and estimated wages compared to white women, while black men gained only in terms of wages compared to white men. Second, since the gender earnings gap among whites was narrowing during this time, as black women's wages rose relative to white women's, they also made faster progress relative to white males than did black males. In other important respects, however, the experience of black men and women over the period was similar. First, for both groups, while earnings and wages relative to whites of the same sex rose during the 1970s, they stagnated or declined during the 1980s. Second, in contrast to the 1960s, younger blacks did not fare better than older blacks during the 1970s and 1980s. While in 1971, both unadjusted wage ratios and adjusted earnings ratios were highest within each sex group for labor market entrants, by 1988 these ratios were fairly similar across experience groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Francine D. Blau & Andrea H. Beller, 1991. "Black-White Earnings Over the 1970s and 1980s: Gender Differences in Trends," NBER Working Papers 3736, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3736 Note: LS
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lillard, Lee & Smith, James P & Welch, Finis, 1986. "What Do We Really Know about Wages? The Importance of Nonreporting and Census Imputation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 489-506, June.
    2. Richard Butler & James J. Heckman, 1977. "The Government's Impact on the Labor Market Status of Black Americans: A Critical Review," NBER Working Papers 0183, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
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    5. Charles F. Manski, 1989. "Anatomy of the Selection Problem," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(3), pages 343-360.
    6. O'Neill, June, 1990. "The Role of Human Capital in Earnings Differences between Black and White Men," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 25-45, Fall.
    7. 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.
    8. William Darity, 1980. "Illusions of black economic progress," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 153-168, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bailey, Martha J. & Collins, William J., 2006. "The Wage Gains of African-American Women in the 1940s," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(03), pages 737-777, September.
    2. Card, David & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Wage dispersion, returns to skill, and black-white wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 319-361, October.
    3. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 1994. "Changing Wage Structure and Black-White Differentials Among Men and Women: A Longitudinal Analysis," NBER Working Papers 4755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. 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.
    5. Epstein, Gil S. & Gafni, Dalit & Siniver, Erez, 2014. "Even Education and Experience Has Its Limits: Closing the Wage Gap," IZA Discussion Papers 8737, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/9081 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2008. "Unequal Pay or Unequal Employment? A Cross-Country Analysis of Gender Gaps," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(4), pages 621-654, October.
    8. Joanna N. Lahey, 2017. "Understanding Why Black Women Are Not Working Longer," NBER Chapters,in: Women Working Longer: Increased Employment at Older Ages National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Richey, Jeremiah & Tromp, Nikolas, 2016. "Decomposing Black-White Wage Gaps Across Distributions: Young U.S. Men and Women in 1990 vs. 2011," MPRA Paper 74335, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-1194, December.
    11. William J. Collins & Michael Q. Moody, 2017. "Racial Differences in American Women's Labor Market Outcomes: A Long-Run View," NBER Working Papers 23397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Nicole Coomer, 2015. "An Investigation of the Historical Black Wage Premium in Nursing," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 323-335, December.
    13. Christopher Pissarides & Pietro Garibaldi & Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo & Etienne Wasmer, 2005. "Women in the Labour Force : How Well is Europe Doing ?," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/9081, Sciences Po.
    14. Marjan Petreski & Nikica Blazevski & Blagica Petreski, 2014. "Gender Wage Gap when Women are Highly Inactive: Evidence from Repeated Imputations with Macedonian Data," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 35(4), pages 393-411, December.
    15. Patrick Bayer & Kerwin Kofi Charles, 2016. "Divergent Paths: Structural Change, Economic Rank, and the Evolution of Black-White Earnings Differences, 1940-2014," NBER Working Papers 22797, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Hurst, Michael, 1997. "The determinants of earnings differentials for indigenous Americans: Human capital, location, or discrimination?," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 787-807.
    17. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3143-3259 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-895, October.

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