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Trends in Self-Employment among White and Black Men during the Twentieth Century

Robert W. Fairlie and Bruce D. Meyer
The Journal of Human Resources
Vol. 35, No. 4 (Autumn, 2000), pp. 643-669
DOI: 10.2307/146366
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/146366
Page Count: 27
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Trends in Self-Employment among White and Black Men during the Twentieth Century
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Abstract

We examine white and black male nonagricultural self-employment from 1910 to 1997. Self-employment rates fell through 1970 and then rose. White male trends were due to declining rates within industries, ending in 1970, counterbalanced by a continuing shift toward high self-employment industries. Social security and immigration do not explain the recent upturn. Black male rates have been roughly one-third of white rates from 1910 to 1997. Blacks are not concentrated in low self-employment rate industries. Absent continuing forces limiting black self-employment, a simple inter-generational model suggests quick convergence of black and white rates.

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