Competition in the Promised Land: Black Migration and Racial Wage Convergence in the North, 1940-1970
Four million blacks left the South from 1940 to 1970, doubling the northern black workforce. I exploit variation in migrant flows within skill groups over time to estimate the elasticity of substitution by race. I then use this estimate to calculate counterfactual rates of wage growth. I find that black wages in the North would have been around 7 percent higher in 1970 if not for the migrant influx, while white wages would have remained unchanged. On net, migration was an avenue for black economic advancement, but the migration created both winners and losers.
I am grateful to Claudia Goldin, Caroline Hoxby, Lawrence Katz and Robert Margo for their advice and support and to Sandra Black, David Clingingsmith, Dora Costa, Carola Frydman, Christopher Jencks, Naomi Lamoreaux, Sarah Reber, Raven Saks and William Sundstrom for helpful conversations. This paper benefited from the suggestions of anonymous referees and seminar participants at UC-Irvine, UCLA and the All-UC Economic History Conference. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Boustan, Leah Platt, 2009. "Competition in the Promised Land: Black Migration and Racial Wage Convergence in the North, 1940?1970," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(03), pages 755-782, September. citation courtesy of