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American Economic Journal: Applied Economics: Vol. 6 No. 1 (January 2014)

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Selection and Economic Gains in the Great Migration of African Americans: New Evidence from Linked Census Data

Article Citation

Collins, William J., and Marianne H. Wanamaker. 2014. "Selection and Economic Gains in the Great Migration of African Americans: New Evidence from Linked Census Data." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 6(1): 220-52.

DOI: 10.1257/app.6.1.220

Abstract

The onset of World War I spurred the "Great Migration" of African Americans from the US South, arguably the most important internal migration in US history. We create a new panel dataset of more than 5,000 men matched from the 1910 to 1930 census manuscripts to address three interconnected questions: To what extent was there selection into migration? How large were the migrants' gains? Did migration narrow the racial gap in economic status? We find evidence of positive selection, but the migrants' gains were large. A substantial amount of black-white convergence in this period is attributable to migration.

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Authors

Collins, William J. (Vanderbilt U)
Wanamaker, Marianne H. (U TN)

JEL Classifications

J15: Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
J61: Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
N32: Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: U.S.; Canada: 1913-
N92: Regional and Urban History: U.S.; Canada: 1913-
R23: Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics: Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population; Neighborhood Characteristics

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