Northwestern Events Calendar


Seminar in Health/Education/Labor/Public Economics

When: Tuesday, May 2, 2023
2:15 PM - 3:45 PM CT

Where: Kellogg Global Hub, 4302, 2211 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Kayla Johnson  

Group: Department of Economics: Seminar in Health/Education/Labor/Public Economics

Category: Academic


Nancy Qian (Northwestern): Black-White Income Inequality During Jim Crow:  Evidence from “Passing” for White

Abstract: This paper investigates the phenomenon of “passing” for white by documenting several new descriptive facts. Exposure to racial discrimination was positively associated with Black men “passing” for white. Passing was associated with large income gains and increased economic mobility. However, passing was also associated with high social costs; beyond the loss of one's Black identity, passing was associated with higher separation rates from a person's community and family. Using the income of Black men who passed for white, we construct a range of Black-white income gaps to shed light on the extent to which discrimination against Black men curtailed their incomes during this period. The estimates imply that removing contemporaneous labor market discrimination would have increased the Black-to-white income ratio by at least 3 to 14 percentage-points.

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