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Creators/Authors contains: "Cook, Lisa D."

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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  2. Abstract The economic analysis of racial discrimination in public accommodations is remarkably limited. To study this issue, we construct a national data set of nondiscriminatory establishments from the Negro Motorist Green Books, a travel guide published from 1936 to 1966 to aid Black Americans in finding nondiscriminatory retail and service establishments. We document patterns in the geographic spread and evolution of Green Book establishments, as well as the correlates of Green Book presence. We find that economic and social measures, as well as state laws relating to racial discrimination and antidiscrimination, were correlated with the provision of nondiscriminatory services. We then use the Green Book data to test whether market conditions and white consumer discrimination led businesses to bar Black customers prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We use plausibly exogenous variation from white World War II casualties and Black migration patterns to isolate the effect of a change in the racial composition of consumers on the growth of nondiscriminatory businesses. We find that the share of nondiscriminatory establishments grew faster in locations with larger increases in the share of the Black population, but the magnitudes were small. These results highlight the importance of federal legislation in ending racial discrimination in public accommodations. 
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