Celeste K. Carruthers

Department of Economics
Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research
709 Stokely Management Center
The University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of Tennessee

NBER Working Papers and Publications

January 2016Separate and Unequal in the Labor Market: Human Capital and the Jim Crow Wage Gap
with Marianne H. Wanamaker: w21947
The gap between black and white earnings is a longstanding feature of the United States labor market. Competing explanations attribute different weight to wage discrimination and access to human capital. Using new data on local school quality, we find that human capital played a predominant role in determining 1940 wage and occupational status gaps in the South despite the effective disenfranchisement of blacks, entrenched racial discrimination in civic life, and lack of federal employment protections. The 1940 conditional black-white wage gap coincides with the higher end of the range of estimates from the post-Civil Rights era. We estimate that a truly “separate but equal” school system would have reduced wage inequality by 40 - 51 percent.

Published: Accepted for publication by Journal of Labor Economics on 01/25/2016. citation courtesy of

January 2015Municipal Housekeeping: The Impact of Women's Suffrage on Public Education
with Marianne H. Wanamaker: w20864
Gains in 20th century real wages and reductions in the black-white wage gap have been linked to the mid-century ascent of school quality. With a new dataset uniquely appropriate to identifying the impact of female voter enfranchisement on education spending, we attribute up to one-third of the 1920-1940 rise in public school expenditures to the Nineteenth Amendment. Yet the continued disenfranchisement of black southerners meant white school gains far outpaced those for blacks. As a result, women’s suffrage exacerbated racial inequality in education expenditures and substantially delayed relative gains in black human capital observed later in the century.

Published: C. K. Carruthers & M. H. Wanamaker, 2015. "Municipal Housekeeping: The Impact of Women's Suffrage on Public Education," Journal of Human Resources, vol 50(4), pages 837-872. citation courtesy of

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