Prejudice and wages: An empirical assessment of Becker's the economics of discrimination

Kerwin Kofi Charles, Jonathan Guryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations

Abstract

We test the predictions from Becker's (1957) seminal work on employer prejudice and find that relative black wages (a) vary negatively with the prejudice of the "marginal" white in a state, (b) vary negatively with the prejudice in the lower tail of the prejudice distribution but are unaffected by the prejudice of the most prejudiced persons in a state, and (c) vary negatively with the fraction of a state that is black. Our estimates suggest that one-quarter of the racial wage gap is due to prejudice, with nontrivial consequences for black lifetime earnings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)773-778
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Political Economy
Volume116
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics

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