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)
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.
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