We examine firm-specific data from 38 sugar plantations in Hawaii during 1900-1901 to study the magnitude and source of racial and ethnic wage differentials. Substantial differences in the average wages received by members of different ethmic groups were found, with Americans and Europeans at the top of the average wage ranking and Chinese and Japanese at the bottom. While a substantial portion of the wage differences was caused by concentration of non-Caucasians in low-wage jobs, Americans and Europeans were also paid higher wages than non-Caucasians for the same job. The differences were not necessarily due to discrimination. Evidence from outside the sample suggests that there were productivity differences between and within ethnic groups.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics and Econometrics