Competition in the Promised Land: Black Migration and Racial Wage Convergence in the North, 1940-1970

41 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2008 Last revised: 25 Mar 2008

See all articles by Leah Platt Boustan

Leah Platt Boustan

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics

Date Written: February 2008

Abstract

Four million blacks left the South from 1940 to 1970, doubling the northern black workforce. I exploit variation in migrant flows within skill groups over time to estimate the elasticity of substitution by race. I then use this estimate to calculate counterfactual rates of wage growth. I find that black wages in the North would have been around 7 percent higher in 1970 if not for the migrant influx, while white wages would have remained unchanged. On net, migration was an avenue for black economic advancement, but the migration created both winners and losers.

Suggested Citation

Boustan, Leah Platt, Competition in the Promised Land: Black Migration and Racial Wage Convergence in the North, 1940-1970 (February 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w13813, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1093650

Leah Platt Boustan (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 951477
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1477
United States

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