Economic Inequality in the United States

By Lars Osberg | Go to book overview

7

OF RACE AND SEX

Your prospects in the labour market depend very much on who you are. The most basic dividing lines are between male and female workers, on the one hand, and between black and white workers on the other.

L. G. REYNOLDS
Labor Economics and Labor Relations ( 1974)


7.1 Introduction

For many years there have been substantial differences between the incomes of blacks and whites and between those of men and women. That these differences exist can hardly be disputed—but why these differences exist and what, if anything, can be or should be done to eliminate them is greatly in dispute. To set the subsequent discussion in context, section 7.2 presents a small part of the evidence on racial and sexual differences in money income. Section 7.3 presents a number of alternative theoretical models of discrimination and in section 7.4 we consider the extent to which these models of racial discrimination can be used to analyze differences in earnings between men and women. Section 7.5 offers a summary and a conclusion.


7.2 Differences in Pay by Race and Sex

Table 7.1 presents a few of the many comparisons which can be made between the incomes of blacks 1 and whites, males and females in contemporary America. Black males have weekly earnings that in 1981 were, on average, roughly 20% below those of white males, while the pay of white females averaged roughly 60% of the pay of white males. Blacks were over 60% more likely to experience unemployment in 1980 and that unemployment was, on average, some 30% longer. These are substantial differences in average pay rates and unemployment experience and these differences have a long history. They produce large differences in eco

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Economic Inequality in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Economic Inequality in the United States *
  • Contents *
  • Preface ix
  • Economic Inequality in the United States *
  • 1 - Introduction 3
  • 2 - Inequality in Money Income 9
  • 3 - Economic Inequality 32
  • 4 - Poverty and Inequality 61
  • 5 - Of Laborers and Capitalists— the Issue of Factor Shares 85
  • 6 - Of Chance and Ability 100
  • 7 - Of Race and Sex 115
  • 8 - The "Neoclassical" Perspective: the Implications of Choice 130
  • 9 - Structural Interpretations: the Importance of Constraints 162
  • 10 - An Eclectic Summary 184
  • 11 - The Acquisition of Property 195
  • 12 - Growth And/Or Equality? 220
  • 13 - Government and Inequality 234
  • 14 - Conclusion 256
  • Bibliography 267
  • Index of Names 291
  • Index of Subjects 296
  • About the Author 307
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