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This paper examines intertemporal changes in racial disparity among mature Americans during the post-Jim Crow era, that is, 1965–2006. For a large nationally representative sample of American households, we pay special attention to differences between the South and other national regions, as the majority of African Americans do now and always have resided in the South. Historically, periods of progress in African American wellbeing have been followed by periods of regress that are often initiated by some combination of social change, government policy, and macroeconomic instability. Accordingly, we construct an overlapping series of five synthetic intertemporal cohorts of new seniors (ages 50–64). Cohorts are separated by the troughs of recessions. Finally, we note that regardless of race, men and women experience dissimilar opportunities in the market and in society; hence, gender dissimilarity is incorporated into our analysis. We find 1) large reductions in Post-Jim Crow contemporary disparity; 2) we also find large continuing disparity among the most recent cohorts; and, 3) changes in Southern racial weekly wage inequality (especially among men) have been especially important for determining the national pattern.
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- Moments of Disparate Peaks: Race-Gender Wage Gaps Among Mature Persons, 1965–2007
Patrick L. Mason
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