An investigation of the historical black wage premium in nursing
This paper builds off of prior work analyzing the historical wage premium paid to black registered nurses (RNs) (Coomer, Nurs Econ 31(5):254–259, 2013). The average observed wages of black RNs was higher than that of white RNs in the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (NSSRN) over more than two decades from 1984 to 2008. This study examines the wage differential between black and white nurses that remains after controlling for factors likely to affect wages in addition to race, such as experience, education, employer type, and specialty. The differential is decomposed, following Blinder (1973) and Oaxaca (1973), revealing a large unexplained portion. Four possible explanations are examined and support is found for self-selection, experience, shift work, and demand effects.