This paper examines the impact of manufacturing employment decline on the socioeconomic outcomes within and between black and white Americans since 1960. The analysis shows that manufacturing decline had a negative impact on blacks in terms of their wages, employment, marriage rates, house values, poverty rates, death rates, single parenthood, teen motherhood, child poverty, and child mortality. In addition, the decline in manufacturing increased inequality within the black community for wages and other outcomes. Similar patterns are found for whites, but to a lesser degree—leading to larger gaps between whites and blacks in wages, marriage patterns, poverty, single-parenthood, and death rates.
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Received for publication February 6, 2019. Revision accepted for publication January 17, 2020. Editor: Olivier Coibion. ∗Gould: Hebrew University of Jerusalem, CEPR, IZA, and CReAM. I thank the editor, referees, and participants at the ICEF Conference on Applied Economics for helpful comments. Sheri Band Asif provided diligent research assistance. This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant 1927/18). A supplemental appendix is available online at https://doi.org/10.1162/ rest_a_00918.
© 2020 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.