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

44 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2013

See all articles by William J. Collins

William J. Collins

Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics; The Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Marianne Wanamaker

University of Tennessee, Knoxville; IZA

Date Written: June 2013

Abstract

The onset of World War I spurred the "Great Migration" of African Americans from the U.S. South, arguably the most important internal migration in U.S. 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.

Suggested Citation

Collins, William J. and Wanamaker, Marianne, Selection and Economic Gains in the Great Migration of African Americans: New Evidence from Linked Census Data (June 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w19124. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2280976

William J. Collins (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 1819 Station B
Nashville, TN 37235
United States
615-322-3428 (Phone)

The Brookings Institution

1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036-2188
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Marianne Wanamaker

University of Tennessee, Knoxville ( email )

The Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research
Knoxville, TN 37996
United States

IZA ( email )

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