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Li, Sijie (2019) THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THE FIRST GREAT MIGRATION. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation studies the first Great Migration of African Americans from the rural South to Urban areas in the northern United States. While most existing research has focused on the experiences of the migrants themselves, I am focused on how this influx of rural black migrants impacted outcomes for African Americans who were already living in the north and had already attained a modicum of economic success. Common themes throughout this dissertation involve the use of the complete-count U.S. population census to link records across years. In the first chapter, I linked northern-born blacks from 1910 to 1930 to study how the arrival of new black residents affected the employment outcomes of existing northern-born black residents. I find that southern black migrants served as both competitors and consumers to northern-born blacks in the labor market. In the second chapter, my co-authors and I study the role of segregated housing markets in eroding black wealth during the Great Migration. Building a new sample of matched census addresses from 1930 to 1940, we find that racial transition on a block was associated with both soaring rental prices and declines in the sales value of homes. In other words, black families paid more to rent housing and faced falling values of homes they were able to purchase. Finally, the third chapter compares the rates of intergenerational occupational mobility by both race and region. I find that racial mobility difference in the North was more substantial than it was in the South. However, regional mobility difference for blacks is greater than any gap in intergenerational mobility by race in prewar American. Therefore, the first Great Migration helped blacks successfully translate their geographic mobility into economic mobility.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Li, Sijiesil34@pitt.edusil34
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairShertzer,
Committee CoChairWalsh,
Committee MemberGiuntella,
Committee MemberBeach,
Date: 25 September 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 3 April 2019
Approval Date: 25 September 2019
Submission Date: 7 August 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 150
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Economics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Great Migration; Labor Market; Housing Market; Occupational Mobility
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2019 15:27
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2019 15:27


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