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The Wage Gains of African-American Women in the 1940s

Martha J. Bailey and William J. Collins
The Journal of Economic History
Vol. 66, No. 3 (Sep., 2006), pp. 737-777
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3874858
Page Count: 41
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The Wage Gains of African-American Women in the 1940s
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Abstract

The 1940s marked a turning point in the labor market outcomes of African-American women. They experienced large wage gains relative to white women, sharp declines in agricultural and domestic service work, and significant increases in formal sector employment. Using a semiparametric decomposition technique, we assess the influence of changes in productive and personal characteristics, in workers' distribution across occupations and locations, and in the wage structure on both black women's absolute wage gains and those relative to white women's. We argue that the pattern of changes is most consistent with increasing demand for their labor in the formal sector.

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