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Minority Job Concentration and Wages

Julie A. Kmec
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/sp.2003.50.1.38 38-59 First published online: 1 February 2003


This article explores wage inequality resulting from the segregation of minorities and whites into different jobs. Specifically, my analyses investigate the relationship between workplace minority concentration and the hourly wages of blacks and Latinos relative to whites. Using individual-level data from the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality linked to establishment-level data from the Multi-City Telephone Employer Survey, I find wages are lower for workers in mostly black and Latino jobs compared to mostly white jobs, net of individual, human capital, job, occupation, establishment, and city controls. The study supports two main conclusions. First, racial minorities suffer disproportionately from lower wages because they are more likely than whites to have minority co-workers. Second, jobs, as opposed to local occupations or establishments, are the sites of mechanisms responsible for producing racial wage inequality. Drawing on devaluation and queuing theories to interpret these results, I elaborate on how this analysis advances our understanding of job-level wage processes and racial wage inequality in general.

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