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Competition in the Promised LandBlack Migrants in Northern Cities and Labor Markets$
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Leah Platt Boustan

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691150871

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691150871.001.0001

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Competition in Northern Labor Markets

Competition in Northern Labor Markets

(p.65) Chapter 3 Competition in Northern Labor Markets
Competition in the Promised Land

Leah Platt Boustan

Princeton University Press

This chapter shows that northern employers used black migrants more interchangeably with other black workers than with similarly skilled white workers in the North. The lack of substitutability between black and white workers was due both to actual differences in productivity—owing to, for example, racial disparities in school quality—and to discrimination in job assignments. In addition, the competition with southern blacks generated larger wage losses for black men in the North than for similarly skilled whites. This chapter argues that the migration produced clear economic winners and losers. The southern migrants themselves benefited from the move from the low-wage South, while existing black workers in the North lost ground. In part because of competition from southern in-migrants, black workers experienced little earnings growth in the North relative to whites before 1965.

Keywords:   labor markets, labor market competition, northern employers, black workers, wage losses, pre-market discrimination, market discrimination

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