Date of Submission
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
© 2021 Rachel S Scharff-Hansen
Wages of black men trail those of their white counterparts despite decades of generational socio-political change. This paper examines the extent to which the black-white wage gap has evolved from individuals born in the Baby Boomer (births between 1956 and 1964) to the Millennial (births between 1977 and 1995) generation, an era assumed to reflect great shifts in anti-racist sentiments and opportunities in the late 20th century. Despite presumed progressive attitudes developed in this time period, I find that the black-white wage differential of the labor market in its whole has worsened from black earnings lagging 28.1% behind white to a greater 31.2% in the later generation. There is significant discussion exploring how the ability to gain academic skill pre-entry into the labor market equates to higher earnings upon stepping foot into the workforce, and how there is a racial difference in the ability to acquire said skills that equip individuals for greater rates of pay in later life with disproportionate barriers posed to black men. Under my findings that controlling for disparities in academic skill scores reduce yet do not eliminate the black-white wage gap, I break down my sample by region to examine the extent to which specific geographic areas of the United States are responsible for the unconditional inequity, and the trend the racial wage inequalities of these respective areas have followed from the Baby Boomer to Millennial generation. I find that while the South region has had a significant fall in its racial wage gap by roughly 36%, all other regions’ black-white earnings differentials have grown across these generations, apart from the West region not holding significant impact in the earlier generation presumably due to an insufficient sample size.
Scharff-Hansen, Rachel, "Exploring the Generational Evolution of Black-White Wage Inequality across Geographic Regions of the United States" (2022). CMC Senior Theses. 2894.