SBEE Seminar Series: Trevon Logan
11:30 am -
The Green Books and the Geography of Segregation in Public Accommodations
Jim Crow segregated African Americans and whites by law and practice. The causes and implications of the associated de jure and de facto residential segregation have received substantial attention from scholars, but there has been little empirical research on racial discrimination in public accommodations during this time period. We digitize the Negro Motorist Green Books, important historical travel guides aimed at helping African Americans navigate segregation in the pre-Civil Rights Act United States. We create a novel panel dataset that contains precise geocoded locations of over 4,000 unique businesses that provided non-discriminatory service to African American patrons between 1938 and 1966. Our analysis reveals several new facts about discrimination in public accommodations that contribute to the broader literature on racial segregation. First, the largest number of Green Book establishments were found in the Northeast, while the lowest number were found in the West. The Midwest had the highest number of Green Book establishments per black resident and the South had the lowest. Second, we combine our Green Book estimates with newly digitized county-level estimates of hotels to generate the share of non-discriminatory formal accommodations. Again, the Northeast had the highest share of non-discriminatory accommodations, with the South following closely behind. Third, for Green Book establishments located in cities for which the Home Owner’s Loan Corporation (HOLC) drew residential security maps, the vast majority (nearly 70 percent) are located in the lowest-grade, redlined neighborhoods. Finally, Green Book presence tends to correlate positively with measures of material well-being and economic activity.
Trevon D. Logan is the Hazel C. Youngberg Trustees Distinguished Professor of Economics and Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University. He is a research associate in the Development of the American Economy Program and the director of the Race and Stratification in the Economy Working Group at the National Bureau of Economic Research. A former President of the National Economic Association and member of the American Economic Association’s Committee on the Status of the Minority Groups in the Economics Profession, he is currently Co-director of the American Economic Association’s Mentoring Program and member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Economic Literature and the Journal of Economic Perspectives.
His current research focuses on racial inequality and economic history. His international award-winning research has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, the Economist, NBC, CBS, Bloomberg, CNN, and other major media outlets. Named by Fortune Magazine as “One of the 19 Black Economists You Should Know and Celebrate” in 2020, his work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Brookings Institution, and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, among others.
Logan received his BS in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1999, his MA degrees in demography and economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 2003, and his PhD in economics from University of California, Berkeley in 2004.
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