Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Rezek, Jon

Committee Member

Morrison, Emory

Committee Member

Millea, Meghan

Committee Member

Grimes, Paul

Committee Member

Campbell, Randall

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

MSU Only Indefinitely

Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only


Applied Economics

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Business


Department of Finance and Economics


This dissertation is comprised of three studies which examine, among other issues, racial economic disparity. The first study examines racial and gender wage gaps and considers preferences among supervisors and workers as possible sources of wage differentials. After controlling for various wage determinants, I find little statistical evidence of a racial wage gap. However, I do find evidence of a significant gender wage gap. Also, the race of an individual‟s supervisor is found to be unimportant, but workers with male supervisors are found to earn significantly higher wages than workers with female supervisors. The results reveal little evidence of employee discrimination. However, it is found that both white and male workers receive a wage premium when working for a white male supervisor. I find these results to be strongest for, and possibly driven by, small firms in the South. The second study examines the factors that Bowl Championship Series (BCS) universities use in their decision to offer athletic scholarships to high school football players. I find that a player‟s physical characteristics are important in determining the number of scholarship offers he will receive as well as his athletic performance in high school. However, a player‟s high school grade point average is not a significant determinant of the number of scholarship offers he receives. The analysis also indicates a significantly higher labor market demand for African-American high school football players, and there is also evidence of racial position segregation as well. The third study analyzes the relationship between the racial makeup of counties and economic growth and convergence in the southern U.S. The results provide strong evidence that spatial dependence is present in the data, and it is determined that the spatial lag model is appropriate for modeling the data. Significant evidence of conditional beta-convergence among the counties in the sample is found. The results also reveal that the balanced growth paths of counties are inversely related with the percentage of the county population that is African-American. That is, counties with a higher concentration of African-Americans tend to exhibit relatively slow rates of income growth.