NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
loading...

Changes in Black-White Inequality: Evidence from the Boll Weevil

Karen Clay, Ethan J. Schmick, Werner Troesken

NBER Working Paper No. 27101
Issued in May 2020, Revised in June 2020
NBER Program(s):Development of the American Economy, Labor Studies

This paper investigates the effect of a large negative agricultural shock, the boll weevil, on black-white inequality in the first half of the twentieth century. To do this we use complete count census data to generate a linked sample of fathers and their sons. We find that the boll weevil induced enormous labor market and social disruption as more than half of black and white fathers moved to other counties following the arrival of the weevil. The shock impacted black and white sons differently. We compare sons whose fathers initially resided in the same county and find that white sons born after the boll weevil had similar wages and schooling outcomes to white sons born prior to its arrival. In contrast, black sons born after the boll weevil had significantly higher wages and years of schooling, narrowing the black-white wage and schooling gaps. This decrease appears to have been driven by relative improvements in early life conditions and access to schooling both for sons of black fathers that migrated out of the South and sons of black fathers that stayed in the South.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27101

 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

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

Contact Us