Closing the Gap

Forty Years of Economic Progress for Blacks

by James P. Smith, Finis Welch


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This report undertakes a reassessment of the economic progress of American blacks over the past 40 years, drawing on the 1980 Census micro data file and the newly released micro data files for the 1940 and 1950 Censuses. Its most basic concern is whether the economic lot of black men has improved significantly in the 40-year period, but it also considers whether economic progress has touched all parts of the black community. Finally, it attempts to isolate the underlying causes of black economic progress by considering the roles played by education, migration to the north, and affirmative action.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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