Black-White Earnings Over the 1970s and 1980s: Gender Differences in Trends

Francine D. Blau, Andrea H. Beller

NBER Working Paper No. 3736
Issued in June 1991
NBER Program(s):Labor Studies

This paper uses CPS data to analyze gender differences in black-white annual earnings trends over the 1970s and 1980s. We find that in at least two respects black women fared better than men over this period. First, due to decreasing relative annual time inputs for black males, but not black females, black women experienced increases in both annual earnings and estimated wages compared to white women, while black men gained only in terms of wages compared to white men. Second, since the gender earnings gap among whites was narrowing during this time, as black women's wages rose relative to white women's, they also made faster progress relative to white males than did black males. In other important respects, however, the experience of black men and women over the period was similar. First, for both groups, while earnings and wages relative to whites of the same sex rose during the 1970s, they stagnated or declined during the 1980s. Second, in contrast to the 1960s, younger blacks did not fare better than older blacks during the 1970s and 1980s. While in 1971, both unadjusted wage ratios and adjusted earnings ratios were highest within each sex group for labor market entrants, by 1988 these ratios were fairly similar across experience groups.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w3736

Published: Review of Economics and Statistics, May 1992 citation courtesy of

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