Vasiliki Fouka, Soumyajit Mazumder, Marco Tabellini, 27 March 2020

From 1915 to 1930, 1.5 million African Americans moved from the southern US to northern urban centres. This column uses that shift as a historical case study, investigating how the appearance of a new migrant group affects the integration of previous generations of immigrants. It finds that the arrival of African Americans increased the effort exerted by Southern and Eastern Europeans to assimilate, but that Western and Northern Europeans, who were regarded as culturally closer to the native-born white population, had an easier time integrating. 

Alvaro Calderon, Vasiliki Fouka, Marco Tabellini, 01 February 2020

The 1940-1970 Great Migration of African Americans was one of the largest episodes of internal migration in the US. This column examines how resulting changes in the racial composition of local constituencies affected voters’ preferences and politicians’ behaviour. It finds that Democrats and union members supported blacks’ struggle for racial equality, but that backlash against civil rights erupted among Republicans and among whites who more exposed to racial mixing of their neighbourhoods. It also shows that politicians largely responded to demands of their constituencies. The findings suggest that under certain conditions, cross-race coalitions can emerge, but they also indicate that changes in the composition of the electorate can polarise both voters and politicians.

Owen Thompson, 01 November 2019

Fertility rates among African American women have exceeded those of white women for as long as fertility statistics have been collected, while disparities in the economic outcomes of black and white Americans have persisted. This column investigates the relationship between racial inequality and fertility differentials. It finds that not only were fertility choices responsive to changes in discriminatory policies made during the Civil Rights era, but that African Americans born in the years immediately following, when the relative fertility of black southern women declined markedly, exhibited rapid improvements in test scores and adult outcomes.

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