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William Collins - Vanderbilt University. Nashville, TN, US

William Collins William Collins

Terence E. Adderley Jr. Chair and Professor of Economics; Professor of History | Vanderbilt University


Expert on economic history, specifically twentieth-century labor markets and cities


William Collins is an economic historian whose research concentrates on twentieth-century labor markets and cities. His recent work has studied inter-regional migration, racial disparities in earnings and educational attainment, and urban renewal programs.

Areas of Expertise (9)

20th Century Economics

Racial Disparities in Earnings

Labor Economics


Economic History

Economic History of the U.S.

Labor & Employment

Racial Disparities

20th Century Labor Market

Accomplishments (5)

Fellow, Brookings Institution

Model-Okun Fellowship in Economic Studies, 2003 – 2004

Senior Economist, Council of Economic Advisers

Labor, Immigration, Education, Welfare; 2006 – 2007

IPUMS-USA/CPS Research Award

Award for “Best Published Work," 2011 and 2018

Jeffrey Nordhaus Award

Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2016

Weatherall Distinguished Fellow and Visiting Scholar

Queen’s University, 2015

Education (1)

Harvard University: A.B., A.M., Ph.D., Economics

Affiliations (2)

  • Co-Director, Development of the American Economy Program, National Bureau of Economic Research
  • Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research

Selected Articles (1)

The Great Migration of Black Americans from the US South: A Guide and Interpretation ” NBER Working Papers, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

The Great Migration from the US South is a prominent theme in economic history research not only because it was a prime example of large scale internal migration, but also because it had far-reaching ramifications for American economic, social, and political change. This essay offers a concise review of the literature focused on questions of timing, selection, and migrants’ outcomes, and then offers a more speculative interpretation of how the Great Migration fostered the advancement of Civil Rights.

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