Business: Catching Up

In his 1966 Ph.D. dissertation, Economist Finis R. Welch predicted that the pay of black workers would steadily fall further behind that of whites because the blacks would be trapped in dead-end jobs. But as a U.C.L.A. professor, he suspected that social change had outmoded his pessimism, arid he joined with James P. Smith, a Rand Corp. economist in a new study of census data. Last week they released their conclusions: between 1955 and 1975, black male workers increased their pay from 63.5% to 76.9% of the white average—and for women the black-white gap just about disappeared. In 1955 black female...

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