Wage Inequality for Black, Hispanic and Native American Women

Paper Session

Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 3:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Hyatt Regency Chicago, Wright
Hosted By: National Economic Association
  • Chair: Jermaine Toney, New School

Gender Disparities in the First Country with a Negative Gender Wage Gap: An Empirical Investigation

José G. Caraballo
University of Puerto Rico-Cayey
Eileen Segarra
University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras


In 2013, Puerto Rico became the first country with a negative gender pay gap that was statistically significant. The factors that may be driving this change in median earnings have not been examined by the related literature. Current driving forces such as "breaking the glass ceiling" do not fully explained this phenomenon. Specially, since one of the relevant findings is that gender disparities stills persist within every educational level, including among workers with a college degree, even though women comprise among 60 percent of them. We attempt to fill this gap in the related literature by empirically evaluating current and new theoretical angles. The study aims at identifying the elements that propend to an overall improvement of women economic position, while at the same time allowing for the continuation of gender disparities within groups. Differences in returns to education may be one of the explanatory factors driving those changes, as they differ among men and women across levels of education.

Do State Minimum Wages Affect Black Female Incarceration Rate?

Pallab Kumar Ghosh
University of Oklahoma


This paper investigates the relationship between state minimum wages and black incarcer-ation rate in the US from 1980 to 2010. The existing literature already established that increase in state minimum wage causes increase in state unemployment rate in the short run. We obtain the data from the National Prisoner Statistics Codebook and the US census. Consistent with the congressional budget office report we also find that on an average every year about 5.3% workers are affected by minimum wage and out of these workers a major fraction is female teenagers. Using the number of democrat members in the lower and upper houses and senate members for each state as a set of instruments for state minimum wages we find that if state minimum wage increases by 1 dollar then on an average there will be 1 additional female prisoner per 1000 black population. Since the average black population in each state is 0.697 million in the sample time period, each additional dollar increase in state minimum wage would increase about 697 black female prisoners for each state.

Explaining the 40 Year Old Wage Differential: Race and Gender in the United States

Karl David Boulware
Wesleyan University
Jamein P. Cunningham
Portland State University


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014, state and local government was the largest employer among all major industry sectors. In this paper we ask, what are the current facts about gender and race in labor market outcomes for public workers compared to those 40 years prior? We find small earnings differentials by race and large differentials by gender in 2014, and large differentials by race and gender in 1975. When describing the causes of these patterns we find group poverty levels and marriage status as the most related group characteristics. In addition, almost all earnings by public sector workers were raised above the average U.S. worker because of productive group characteristics. However, all female workers had lower than average rates of return on group characteristics which for non-Hispanic black, Hispanic white, and Mexican females was not offset by an equal or greater amount of group characteristics.

Inequality in the Labor Market for Native American Women and the Great Recession

Jeffrey D. Burnette
Rochester Institute of Technology


Existing research has documented the negative outcomes associated with recessionary periods differ based upon gender, race, income percentile, and educational attainment, resulting in a widening of existing gaps and increased inequality between groups. Native American women are highly concentrated in areas within these groups that are disproportionately impacted by recessions. This research paper builds on previous literature and documents general changes in the labor market for Native American women that occurred during the Great Recession using extracts of data from the Current Population Survey Annual Earnings file, known as the Merged Outgoing Rotation Groups (MORG). Wages, unemployment and other labor market variables for Native American women are contrasted with those of Native American men and white women to determine the relative change in Labor market inequality that occurred during the Great Recession.
Randall Akee
University of California-Los Angeles
Peter Blair
Clemson University
Rhonda V. Sharpe
Women's Institute for Secondary Education and Research
Gabriela Caceress
Florida State University
JEL Classifications
  • I2 - Education and Research Institutions
  • J3 - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs