IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/fip/fedbne/y2002iq1p19-46.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Education and wages in the 1980s and 1990s: are all groups moving up together?

Author

Listed:
  • Katharine L. Bradbury

Abstract

A considerable body of economics research has described and investigated the educational wage premium-the degree to which highly educated workers are paid more than less educated workers. The payoff to education has risen steeply in recent decades and accounts for a significant fraction of the increase in overall wage inequality. These two facts have led many to conclude that, at least from an individual perspective, higher educational attainment is a passport out of the lower end of the income distribution. However, given the time and resources that both individuals and society are investing in higher education, it seems useful to ask if everyone sees the same payoff to educational upgrading. ; The author describes median earnings by sex, race, Hispanic origin, and educational attainment during the 1980s and 1990s and then seeks out the sources of wage differences at each education level. She finds that some wage differences are attributable to differences in non-education worker qualifications such as work experience, or job characteristics such as occupation. But after controlling for a variety of these observable characteristics and for business cycle influences, wage disparities by race, Hispanic origin, and sex remain, even within educational categories. For example, at the end of the 1990s, blacks not only earned lower wages at each education level, but also realized less of an increment to wages for additional education (graduating from high school or earning a college degree) than otherwise similar nonblacks.

Suggested Citation

  • Katharine L. Bradbury, 2002. "Education and wages in the 1980s and 1990s: are all groups moving up together?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Q 1, pages 19-46.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbne:y:2002:i:q1:p:19-46
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.bostonfed.org/economic/neer/neer2002/neer102b.htm
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.bostonfed.org/economic/neer/neer2002/neer102b.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & John H. Tyler, 2000. "Who Benefits from Obtaining a GED? Evidence from High School and Beyond," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 23-37, February.
    2. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1992. "School Quality and Black-White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 151-200.
    3. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-1381, September.
    4. Caroline M. Hoxby & Bridget Terry, 1999. "Explaining Rising Income and wage Inequality Among the College Educated," NBER Working Papers 6873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Richard Butler & James J. Heckman, 1977. "The Government's Impact on the Labor Market Status of Black Americans: A Critical Review," NBER Working Papers 0183, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 75-99, Fall.
    7. Amitabh Chandra, 2003. "Is the Convergence of the Racial Wage Gap Illusory?," NBER Working Papers 9476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Cameron, Stephen V & Heckman, James J, 1993. "The Nonequivalence of High School Equivalents," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 1-47, January.
    9. Jane Sneddon Little & Robert K. Triest, 2002. "The impact of demographic change on U. S. labor markets," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Q 1, pages 47-68.
    10. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-895, October.
    11. Eric A. Hanushek, 2001. "Black-White Achievement Differences and Governmental Interventions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 24-28, May.
    12. Smith, James P & Welch, Finis R, 1989. "Black Economic Progress after Myrdal," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 519-564, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Cristina Mocanu & Ana-Maria Zamfir & Eliza-Olivia Lungu & Eva Militaru, 2012. "School-To-Work Transition Of Higher Education Graduates In Four Eastern European Countries," Working Papers 2012/15, Maastricht School of Management.
    2. Lisa Barrow & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 2005. "Do Returns to Schooling Differ by Race and Ethnicity?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 83-87, May.
    3. O. Alonso-Villar & C. Gradín & C. del Río, 2013. "Occupational segregation of Hispanics in US metropolitan areas," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(30), pages 4298-4307, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Education ; Wages;

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedbne:y:2002:i:q1:p:19-46. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Catherine Spozio). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/frbbous.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.