Race, Gender, and the Urban Wage Premium

Max Buchholz, postdoctoral fellow at UCLA’s Department of Urban Planning,  will be presenting his work at a lunchtime seminar

Monday, September
11 12.30 – 2 pm

Campus Condorcet
Bâtiment sud
Room 1023 

Registration: vacchiani ( at ) parisgeo.cnrs.fr

Max BuchholzMax Buchholz is currently completing a post-doc in the Department of Urban Planning at UCLA and has been recruited as Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at UC Berkeley. His work focuses on inequalities in American cities across several dimensions.


Worker’s wages are systematically higher in denser and larger urban areas, a phenomenon known as the “urban wage premium.” However, recent research suggests this urban wage premium varies substantially for different groups in the labor force, particularly across education levels.

This talk asks whether changes in density within city-regions are associated with changes in racial and gender inequality, after controlling for a range of possible confounding factors. The main results suggest that a 100 person per square mile increase in population density is associated with 32.9, 46.1, and 27.5 cent increases in hourly Black-White, Latinx-White, and female-male wage inequality respectively, though the results for AAPI-White inequality are more ambiguous.

I conceptualize and find suggestive evidence in favor of a spatial mechanism than channels this relationship – as cities get denser, congestion also rises, with disproportionately adverse effects for women and people of color. I show that the relationship between changes in density and changes in inequality is higher when commute times also rise, as well as that increasing density within cities leads to increasing inequality in commute times. Overall, this research highlights how the process of urbanization itself may contribute to social inequality.