Williams Rodgers III

William M. Rodgers III is a professor of public policy at Rutgers' Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and serves on the National Urban League's Council of Economic Advisors. From 2000-2001, Rodgers was the U.S. Department of Labor's chief economist.

Recent Articles

Understanding the Black-White Earnings Gap

Why do African Americans continue to earn less despite dramatic gains in education?

Today, African American men working full time and year round have 72 percent of the average earnings of comparable white men. For African American and white women, the ratio is 85 percent. And during good times and bad, the black unemployment rate is typically stuck at about double the white rate. The persistence of these gaps is the subject of both a scholarly and a popular debate that is ideological as well as technical. There are two broad views of what is occurring. One view attributes persistent earnings inequality to the injuries of social class compounded by the legacy of segregation and slavery: family background and poor schools and a resulting deficit of cognitive skills are said to explain most of the gap. But a second strand of thinking identifies changes in the labor market and lingering racial discrimination as major factors. It's not as if this debate is just so much conjecture. There is an extensive body of research on the subject. Numerous studies, in fact, find that...