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The Convergence to Racial Equality in Women's Wages


  • James P. Smith


Twenty years ago the average black woman employed full time was earning approximately half the wage rate of a similarly employed white woman. By 1975 almost complete racial parity in female wages had been achieved. Although this remarkable advance in the economic status of black women has accelerated in the last few years, it has received little serious analytical attention. In contrast, the significant but smaller income gains of black males during the 1960s generated considerable research attempting to disentangle possible sources of this improvement. Real wage changes of the magnitude observed for black females are so rare that it seems unlikely conventional explanations will suffice. In this article, I explore several potential reasons for the rise in the relative wage of black women.

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  • James P. Smith, 2004. "The Convergence to Racial Equality in Women's Wages," Labor and Demography 0402011, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0402011
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 37

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard T. Curtin & Thomas Juster & James N. Morgan, 1989. "Survey Estimates of Wealth: An Assessment of Quality," NBER Chapters,in: The Measurement of Saving, Investment, and Wealth, pages 473-552 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Hurd, Michael D, 1990. "Research on the Elderly: Economic Status, Retirement, and Consumption and Saving," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 565-637, June.
    3. Juster, F Thomas & Kuester, Kathleen A, 1991. "Differences in the Measurement of Wealth, Wealth Inequality and Wealth Composition Obtained from Alternative U.S. Wealth Surveys," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(1), pages 33-62, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Blau, Francine D & Beller, Andrea H, 1992. "Black-White Earnings over the 1970s and 1980s: Gender Differences in Trends," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 276-286, May.
    2. M. Madhavan & Louis Green & Ken Jung, 1985. "A note on black-white wage disparity," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 39-50, March.
    3. James P. Smith, 2004. "Poverty and the Family," Labor and Demography 0403014, EconWPA.
    4. 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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    JEL classification:

    • J - Labor and Demographic Economics

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