The economic progress of American black workers in a periodof crisis and change, 1916-1950

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/280111
Title:
The economic progress of American black workers in a periodof crisis and change, 1916-1950
Author:
Johnson, Ryan Spencer
Issue Date:
2002
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This dissertation explores the interplay between industrial racial hiring practices and the following institutions and transitions characterizing the inter-war period: unionization, institutional change among unions, business cycle activity, government anti-discrimination policy, and high-wage policies. The degree to which industrial racial hiring practices differed across manufacturing and mining industries and the impact that this industrial segregation had on black workers is explored. During World War I, when many northern employers first hired black workers, there was a significant difference in how black and white workers were distributed across industry. However, the segregation decreased significantly over time and it was not a contributor to the black-white income differential among industrial workers. Black workers were not employed disproportionately by industries with low wages, with low capital-to-labor ratios, or that were disproportionately dangerous. However, industrial segregation exposed them to greater unemployment risk, explaining a portion of their disproportionately high unemployment rates. The third chapter identifies some of the forces that shaped and mitigated industrial segregation. The way that black workers were distributed across industries was a function of union density, union affiliation, and tight wartime labor markets. The craft based unions affiliated with the American Federation of Labor were notorious for discriminating against black labor. The industrial unions affiliated with the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) actively promoted the organization of black labor. Consequently, the mean probability that a randomly selected employee in an industry was black was negatively associated with general unionization and positively associated with CIO affiliated unionization. A government agency explicitly created to aid black workers in obtaining employment in defense industries during World War II, the Fair Employment Practice Committee, did not have a significant impact on industrial segregation. The fourth chapter of the dissertation assesses the impact that the high-wage policies of the Great Depression had on black unemployment. During the inter-war period, increases in workers' share of company revenues and unionization increased black workers' share of cyclical employment. By successfully increasing these factors, the Great Depression high-wage policies caused a disproportionate share of the employment downturn to be allocated to black workers.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
History, Black.; Economics, History.; Economics, Labor.; Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Economics
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Fishback, Price V.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.titleThe economic progress of American black workers in a periodof crisis and change, 1916-1950en_US
dc.creatorJohnson, Ryan Spenceren_US
dc.contributor.authorJohnson, Ryan Spenceren_US
dc.date.issued2002en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation explores the interplay between industrial racial hiring practices and the following institutions and transitions characterizing the inter-war period: unionization, institutional change among unions, business cycle activity, government anti-discrimination policy, and high-wage policies. The degree to which industrial racial hiring practices differed across manufacturing and mining industries and the impact that this industrial segregation had on black workers is explored. During World War I, when many northern employers first hired black workers, there was a significant difference in how black and white workers were distributed across industry. However, the segregation decreased significantly over time and it was not a contributor to the black-white income differential among industrial workers. Black workers were not employed disproportionately by industries with low wages, with low capital-to-labor ratios, or that were disproportionately dangerous. However, industrial segregation exposed them to greater unemployment risk, explaining a portion of their disproportionately high unemployment rates. The third chapter identifies some of the forces that shaped and mitigated industrial segregation. The way that black workers were distributed across industries was a function of union density, union affiliation, and tight wartime labor markets. The craft based unions affiliated with the American Federation of Labor were notorious for discriminating against black labor. The industrial unions affiliated with the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) actively promoted the organization of black labor. Consequently, the mean probability that a randomly selected employee in an industry was black was negatively associated with general unionization and positively associated with CIO affiliated unionization. A government agency explicitly created to aid black workers in obtaining employment in defense industries during World War II, the Fair Employment Practice Committee, did not have a significant impact on industrial segregation. The fourth chapter of the dissertation assesses the impact that the high-wage policies of the Great Depression had on black unemployment. During the inter-war period, increases in workers' share of company revenues and unionization increased black workers' share of cyclical employment. By successfully increasing these factors, the Great Depression high-wage policies caused a disproportionate share of the employment downturn to be allocated to black workers.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectHistory, Black.en_US
dc.subjectEconomics, History.en_US
dc.subjectEconomics, Labor.en_US
dc.subjectSociology, Industrial and Labor Relations.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineEconomicsen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorFishback, Price V.en_US
dc.identifier.proquest3060991en_US
dc.identifier.bibrecord.b43042119en_US
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