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Black and White Fertility, Differential Baby Booms: The Value of Equal Education Opportunity

Robert Tamura (), Curtis Simon and Kevin M. Murphy
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Kevin M. Murphy: University of Chicago

JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, 2016, vol. 82, issue 1, 27-109

Abstract: This paper produces new estimates for white and black mortality and fertility at the state level from 1800(20)–2000. It produces new estimates of black and white schooling for this same period. Using a calibrated model of black and white parents, we fit the time series of black and white fertility and schooling. We then produce estimates of the benefits of equal education opportunity for blacks over the period 1820–2000. For the better part of US history, blacks have suffered from less access to schooling for their children than whites. This paper quantifies the magnitude of this discrimination. Our estimates of the welfare cost of this discrimination prior to the Civil War range between 0.5 and 20 times black wealth, and between 0.5 and 10 times black wealth prior to 1960. Further we find that the Civil Rights era was valued by blacks in the South by between 1% to 2% of wealth. Outside of the South, we find significant costs of discrimination prior to 1960, ranging from 6% to 150% of black wealth. For these divisions from 1960–2000, blacks have attained rough parity in schooling access. The welfare magnitudes are similar to the hypothetical gains to blacks if they had white mortality rates. We show that the model’s black and white human capital series are strongly, positively correlated with state output measures, black and white permanent incomes and black and white earnings.

Date: 2016-03-01
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