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Black-White Wage Inequality in the 1990s: a Decade of Progress

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  • Kenneth Couch

Abstract

Using Current Population Survey data, we find that the gap between the wages of black and white males declined during the 1990s at a rate of about .60 percentage point per year. Wage convergence was most rapid among workers with less than 10 years of potential experience, with declines in the gap averaging 1.40 percentage points per year. Using standard decomposition methods, we find that greater occupational diversity and reductions in unobserved or residual differences are important in explaining this trend. General wage inequality tempered the rate of wage convergence between blacks and whites during the 1990s. Copyright 2002, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth Couch, 2002. "Black-White Wage Inequality in the 1990s: a Decade of Progress," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(1), pages 31-41, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:40:y:2002:i:1:p:31-41
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    1. 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.
    2. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1992. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-40, February.
    3. William M. Rodgers III, 1997. "Male Sub-metropolitan Black-White Wage Gaps: New Evidence for the 1980s," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 34(8), pages 1201-1213, July.
    4. Grogger, Jeff, 1996. "Does School Quality Explain the Recent Black/White Wage Trend?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(2), pages 231-253, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Canaday, Neil & Tamura, Robert, 2009. "White discrimination in provision of black education: Plantations and towns," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(7), pages 1490-1530, July.
    2. Amitabh Chandra, 2003. "Is the Convergence of the Racial Wage Gap Illusory?," NBER Working Papers 9476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Chay, Kenneth Y. & Guryan, Jonathan & Mazumder, Bhashkar, 2014. "Early Life Environment and Racial Inequality in Education and Earnings in the United States," Working Paper Series WP-2014-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    4. John S. Heywood & Daniel Parent, 2012. "Performance Pay and the White-Black Wage Gap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 249-290.
    5. Kenneth Couch & Robert Fairlie, 2010. "Last hired, first fired? black-white unemployment and the business cycle," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 47(1), pages 227-247, February.
    6. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill-Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 733-783, October.
    7. Richard Burkhauser & Jeff Larrimore, 2008. "Using Internal Current Population Survey Data to Reevaluate Trends in Labor Earnings Gaps by Gender, Race, and Education Level," Working Papers 08-18, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    8. John J. Donohue III, 2005. "The Law and Economics of Antidiscrimination Law," NBER Working Papers 11631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Srikanth Ramamurthy & Norman Sedgley, 2015. "Human Capital Choice and the Wage Gap: The Role of Worklife Expectancy and Statistical Discrimination," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 175-187, June.
    10. Huoying Wu, 2007. "Can The Human Capital Approach Explain Life-Cycle Wage Differentials Between Races And Sexes?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(1), pages 24-39, January.
    11. Arthur H. Goldsmith & Darrick Hamilton & William Darity, Jr, 2007. "From Dark to Light: Skin Color and Wages Among African-Americans," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(4).

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