Persistent Disparity: Race and Economic Inequality in the United States since 1945

Persistent Disparity: Race and Economic Inequality in the United States since 1945

Persistent Disparity: Race and Economic Inequality in the United States since 1945

Persistent Disparity: Race and Economic Inequality in the United States since 1945

Synopsis

Persistent Disparity provides a comprehensive examination of the magnitude and scope of racial economic disparity, one of the most important economic and social problems confronting the United States.

Excerpt

For the past 40 years, economists have been grappling with the difficult topic of racial inequality in economic life. Their engagement with the issue was sparked by the publication of Gary Becker's pathbreaking book, The Economics of Discrimination.

Many economists welcomed Becker's analysis as a convenient application of economic theory to racial differences in income, which ostensibly showed that such differences were the result of differences in worker productivity rather than racial animus. Further, according to Becker, such income differences were unlikely to continue over time as open, competitive markets equalized wages and worker productivity.

But the Becker analysis of racial inequality in economic life was never satisfactory to economists who observed persistent, pervasive disparities between the economic status of African Americans and others in American labour markets. Even a cursory examination of employment status, wages and family incomes has long shown black Americans in a consistently inferior position compared with white Americans on almost every measure of economic well- being. Equally important, broad racial disparities in economic status persist despite a significant narrowing of productivity differences between population groups over the past three decades. Indeed, by some measures racial inequality in income has worsened in recent years, in clear contradiction with what might have been expected from the Beckerian view of the world.

William Darity and Samuel Myers address this major dilemma in economics through their careful, skilful, comprehensive analysis of the available data on individual and family income. The authors go beyond the conventional approach to the issue to reach a deeper level of analysis that recognizes the racial aspects of pre-labour market experience. Among other creative methodological devices, they take race into account as a factor influencing the measurement of statistical indices. Their approach offers a broader, richer perspective on the impact of race on the economic status of different population groups.

This book will challenge every economist interested in racial inequality, and will force scholars to approach the topic in a new, more illuminating way. In short, the Darity and Myers work is a major contribution to the economics profession.

It is not an accident that the authors are two of our nation's most outstanding African American economists. The excellence of their academic preparation . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.