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Bahai' Chair: Confederate Streets and Black-White Labor Market Differentials (Virtual)

Confederate Streets and Black-White Labor Market Differentials (Virtual)
When Nov 16, 2021
from 02:00 PM to 03:30 PM
Where Online
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Baha'i Chair, Critical Race Initiative, Department of African American Studies
Dr. Jhacova Williams, Associate Economist, RAND Corporation

About the presentation

Using a unique dataset, this paper examines the extent to which streets named after prominent Confederate generals reflect an area’s racial animus toward blacks and are related to black-white labor market differentials. The analysis shows that Confederate streets are positively associated with a proxy for historical racial animus. Specifically, I show that areas that experienced more historical lynchings have more streets named after prominent Confederate generals today. Examining individual-level data show that blacks who reside in areas that have a relatively higher number of Confederate streets are less likely to be employed, more likely to be employed in low-status occupations, and have lower wages compared to whites. This relationship holds after accounting for levels of educational attainment and race-specific quality of education. I find no evidence that geographic sorting explains these results. Investigating whether these results extend to other groups show that Confederate streets are associated with employment, occupational status, and wage differentials between other minorities and whites.

Speaker Bio:

Jhacova Williams is an associate economist at the RAND Corporation. She is an applied microeconomist focusing primarily on economic history and cultural economics. Her previous work has examined Southern culture and the extent to which historical events have impacted the political behavior and economic outcomes of Southern Black people. Recent examples include historical lynchings and the political participation of Black people; and Confederate symbols and labor market differentials. She has also done a series of projects investigating the role of structural racism in shaping racial economic disparities in labor markets. Her work has used various research designs to assess causal effects. She received her Ph.D. from Louisiana State University.

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