Black/White Wage Convergence: The Role of Public Sector Wages and Employment

INDUSTRIAL AND LABOR RELATIONS REVIEW, April 1996

Posted: 19 Jun 1998

See all articles by William J. Carrington

William J. Carrington

Welch Consulting

Kristin McCue

Johns Hopkins University

Brooks Pierce

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Abstract

This paper assesses the relative contribution of the public and private sectors, through their employment and wages, to the black/white wage convergence that occurred in the U.S. economy over the 1963-92 period. Applying standard decomposition methods to Current Population Survey data, the authors show that almost all the convergence in black/white relative wages in the 1963-75 period was due to black/white convergence in the private sector. Similarly, the post-1975 slowdown in black/white wage convergence was almost completely due to a corresponding slowdown in the private sector. The unimportance of the public sector, the authors argue, arises for two reasons: the public sector never accounted for more than 20% of civilian employment over this period; and blacks' historical success in the public sector left relatively little room for black improvement, whereas in the private sector blacks had considerable ground to make up.

JEL Classification: J45, J15

Suggested Citation

Carrington, William J. and McCue, Kristin and Pierce, Brooks, Black/White Wage Convergence: The Role of Public Sector Wages and Employment. INDUSTRIAL AND LABOR RELATIONS REVIEW, April 1996, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3016

William J. Carrington (Contact Author)

Welch Consulting

7984 Old Georgetown Rd., Suite 7C
Bethesda, MD 20814
United States
301-215-9801 (Phone)
301-215-9118 (Fax)

Kristin McCue

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD 21218
United States

Brooks Pierce

Bureau of Labor Statistics ( email )

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