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School Quality and Black-White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment

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  • David Card
  • Alan B. Krueger

Abstract

The wage differential between black and white men fell from 40 percent in 1960 to 25 percent in 1980. It has been argued that this convergence reflects improvements in the relative quality of black schools. To test this hypothesis, we assembled data on pupil-teacher ratios, annual teacher pay, and term length for black and white schools in the eighteen segregated states from 1915 to 1966. These data are linked to estimated returns to education for Southern-born men from different cohorts and states in 1960,1970, and 1980. Improvements in the relative quality of black schools explain 20 percent of the narrowing of the black-white earnings gap between 1960 and 1980.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:107:y:1992:i:1:p:151-200.
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    1. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Working Papers 645, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    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. David Card & A. Abigail Payne, 1997. "School Finance Reform, the Distribution of School Spending, and the Distribution of SAT Scores," Working Papers 766, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    4. Charles Brown, 1981. "The Federal Attack on Labor Market Discrimination: The Mouse that Roared?," NBER Working Papers 0669, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Smith, James P, 1984. "Race and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 685-698, September.
    6. Richard B. Freeman, 1973. "Changes in the Labor Market for Black Americans, 1948-72," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 4(1), pages 67-132.
    7. Orley Ashenfelter, 1970. "Changes in Labor Market Discrimination Over Time," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 5(4), pages 403-430.
    8. Greg J. Duncan & Saul D. Hoffman, 1983. "A New Look at the Causes of the Improved Economic Status of Black Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(2), pages 268-282.
    9. repec:fth:prinin:265 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General

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