Empirical Studies of Current Trends in Racial Inequality
Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
- Chair: John Schmitt, Washington Center for Equitable Growth
Revisiting Bergmann’s Occupational Crowding Model
AbstractIn 1971 economist Barbara Bergmann’s developed the “occupational crowding model,” which posits that black men are “crowded into” low-wage occupations and “crowded out” of high-wage occupations. Utilizing a theory put forth by Francis Y. Edgeworth in 1922, who was building on work done by Millicent Fawcett in 1892 on why women received lower pay compared to men, Bergmann hypothesized that black men were “crowded” into low-wage, less desirable occupations compared to their white male counterparts due to discriminatory action on the part of employers. In quantitative analysis I’ve conducted for the years 2013 through 2014 my results have yielded a different picture from what Bergmann’s model predicts for the demographic composition of the low-wage labor force; while African American men are indeed underrepresented in high-wage occupations, consistent with the crowding model, of the seven major low wage occupational categories this group is overrepresented, or “crowded,” in only three of them. I attribute this to changes in the demographic makeup of the U.S. labor force-- specifically the higher shares of both women as well as non-black non-citizens in the workforce now compared to 46 years ago--since Bergmann first conceptualized the crowding model. I conclude by suggesting that the model may now require further specification to reflect an increasingly complex American workforce instead of the more binary (e.g. black and white, more men and fewer women, etc.) one which existed at the time Bergmann developed her still relevant model.
Racial Differences in Labor Force Participation Since the Great Recession: What's Happening?
AbstractSince the Great Recession, recovery in labor force participation rates has been sluggish overall. African Americans and Latinos participation rates have increased noticeably since the labor market bottomed out in 2010, while that of the rest of the population has been flat. This is a pattern unlike what we've seen in previous recoveries. We examine the causes of this differential recovery using CPS data from 2007, 2010 and 2015.
The Color of Wealth: Evidence Across United States Cities
AbstractThere is a well documented racial wealth gap in the United States at the national level, however there is limited data on wealth by region or disaggregated by race and ethnicity. This paper presents new evidence on the racial wealth gap in five major metropolitan areas across the United States using an original dataset known as the National Asset Scorecard for Communities of Color. The data provides a detailed look into net worth for households, showing significant heterogeneity by region and ethnicity. The data support the national findings that there exists a persistent, and large, racial wealth gap. The level of detail provides new evidence into how various groups are able to accumulate wealth, or not, under different scenarios. Further, the data indicate that while education is correlated with improve wealth outcomes for some groups, it is not a “silver bullet” to close the racial wealth gap. The paper concludes with an offering of bold policies to address the racial wealth gap.
- J1 - Demographic Economics