The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Black–White Labour Market Inequality in the United States

  • Derek Neal
Reference work entry


During much of the 20th century, each successive generation of black Americans came closer to its white counterparts in terms of educational achievement and labour market success. This pattern of black–white progress has stalled since the mid-1980s. This chapter documents the current levels of black–white inequality in terms of human capital and labour market outcomes and then discusses factors that may sustain and perpetuate current levels of black–white inequality. It is much easier to understand the record of black–white progress during earlier decades than to understand the lack of progress in recent years.


Affirmative action Black–white educational achievement Black–white labour market inequality in the United States Black–white skill gap Human capital investment Incarceration Inequality (explanations) Intergenerational transmission of human capital Jim Crow South Labour force participation rate Labour market discrimination Labour migration Myrdal, G. National Assessment of Educational Progress National Center for Education Statistics National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Skill investment Unemployment Women’s work and wages 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Derek Neal
    • 1
  1. 1.