T. Aldrich Finegan

Vanderbilt University

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Vanderbilt University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

December 1995Changes in the Distribution of Wages, 1940-1950: The Public vs. the Private Sector
with Robert A. Margo: w5389
Between 1940 and 1950 wage differentials within and between labor market groups narrowed significantly - the so-called 'Great Compression'. This paper disaggregates the Great Compression into its public and private components. Wage compression in the public sector, along with a decline in the pay premia received by public sector workers, explains about 40 percent of aggregate wage compression in the 1940s. The experience of the 1940s stands in stark contrast with that of the past two decades, in which a rigid public sector wage structure has dampened increases in aggregate wage inequality.

Published: Margo, Robert A. and T. Aldrich Finegan. "The Great Compression Of The 1940s: The Public Versus The Private Sector," Explorations in Economic History, 2002, v39(2,Apr), 183-203.

May 1991The Decline in Black Teenage Labor Force Participation in the South, 1900-1970: The Role of Schooling
with Robert A. Margo: w3704
Between 1950 and 1970 the labor force participation rate of southern black males aged 16-19 declined by 27 percentage points. This decline has been attributed to two demand-side shocks: the mechanization of cotton agriculture in the 1950s and extensions in the coverage of the federal minimum wage in the 1960s. We show, however, that participation rates of southern black teens fell continuously between 1900 and 1950. The proximate causes of the pre-1950 decline in black teen participation were increases in school enrollment rates and decreases in labor force participation by teens enrolled in school. Because the underlying causes of both effects had not run their course by mid-century, we conclude that about half of the post-1950 decline in black teen participation in the South would have o...

Published: American Economic Review, vol. 83, March 1993, p. 234-247 citation courtesy of

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