Racial Disparities in Job Displacement in the United States, 1979-2011

Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, University of Wisconsin-Madison

This paper offers the first systematic analysis of racial disparities in job displacement in the United States over the past three decades. Using the CPS’s Displaced Worker Survey, I (1) provide a theoretical analysis of the formal relationship between racial disparities in job displacement and in unemployment, showing how an analysis of displacement may shed new light on one of the most well-documented aspects of racial stratification, the unemployment disparity; and (2) provide an empirical description of the displacement disparities and a preliminary empirical analysis of their contribution to unemployment disparities. The empirical results offer evidence of an unexpected growth the racial disparities in job displacement over the past decade, a growth that exists within several cohorts and occupational categories, and that contrasts with the secular trend in racial disparities in unemployment.

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Presented in Session 197: Poverty, Instability, and Mobility