NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Origin and Persistence of Black-White Differences in Women's Labor Force Participation

Leah Platt Boustan, William J. Collins


This chapter is a preliminary draft unless otherwise noted. It may not have been subjected to the formal review process of the NBER. This page will be updated as the chapter is revised.

Chapter in forthcoming NBER book Human Capital in History: The American Record, Leah P. Boustan, Carola Frydman, and Robert A. Margo, editors
Conference held December 7-8, 2012
Forthcoming from University of Chicago Press

Black women were more likely than white women to participate in the labor force from 1870 until at least 1980 and to hold jobs in agriculture or manufacturing. Differences in observables cannot account for most of this racial gap in labor force participation for the 100 years after Emancipation. The unexplained racial gap may be due to racial differences in stigma associated with women’s work, which Goldin (1977) suggested could be traced to cultural norms rooted in slavery. In both nineteenth and twentieth century data, we find evidence of inter-generation transmission of labor force participation from mother to daughter, which is consistent with the role of cultural norms.

download in pdf format
   (466 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (466 K) or via email.

This paper was revised on November 1, 2013

Acknowledgments

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

This chapter first appeared as NBER working paper w19040, The Origins and Persistence of Black-White Differences in Women's Labor Force Participation, Leah Platt Boustan, William J. Collins
Users who downloaded this chapter also downloaded these:
Fernández, Fogli, and Olivetti w10589 Preference Formation and the Rise of Women's Labor Force Participation: Evidence from WWII
Blau and Kahn w18702 Female Labor Supply: Why is the US Falling Behind?
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us