NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Ryan Boone

Economics Department
University of California, Los Angeles

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

NBER Working Papers and Publications

August 2020Discrimination and Racial Disparities in Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from WWII
with Anna Aizer, Adriana Lleras-Muney, Jonathan Vogel: w27689
The 1940s witnessed substantial reductions in the Black-white earnings gap. We study the role that domestic WWII defense production played in reducing this gap. Exploiting variation across labor markets in the allocation of war contracts to private firms, we find that war production contracts resulted in significant increases in the earnings of Black workers and declines in the racial wage gap, with no effect on white workers. This was achieved via occupational upgrading among Black men to skilled occupations. The gains largely persisted through at least 1970. Using a structural model, we show that declines in discrimination (and not migration or changes in productivity) account for all of the occupational upgrading and half of the estimated wage gains associated with the war production ef...
 
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