IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Investment in human capital and gender wage differences: evidence from the NLSY


  • Paul Sicilian
  • Adam Grossberg


This paper uses data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) to investigate gender differences in returns to various forms of human capital. Since the NLSY includes relatively detailed information regarding on- and off-the-job training, we place special emphasis on measuring gender differences in the incidence of and returns to formal post-school training. Also considered is the role of nonhuman capital factors such as industry and occupation in explaining the wage gap. It is found that about 60% of the gender wage gap in the sample is explained by mean differences in individual characteristics and market circumstances. This suggests a smaller role for discrimination in explaining the wage gap than previous research has found. The research indicates that training does not affect the gender wage gap. Also it is found that there is no statistically significant difference in the rate of return to other measures of human capital for women versus men. Our research suggests that the largest factors contributing to the wage gap are differences in the stocks of human capital for men and women, and differences in the distributions of men and women across industries and occupations.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Sicilian & Adam Grossberg, 2001. "Investment in human capital and gender wage differences: evidence from the NLSY," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(4), pages 463-471.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:33:y:2001:i:4:p:463-471
    DOI: 10.1080/00036840123000

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Felix Fitzroy & Michael Funke, 1998. "Skills, Wages and Employment in East and West Germany," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(5), pages 459-467.
    2. Anderson, G J & Blundell, R W, 1982. "Estimation and Hypothesis Testing in Dynamic Singular Equation Systems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1559-1571, November.
    3. Nadiri, M Ishaq & Rosen, Sherwin, 1969. "Interrelated Factor Demand Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(4), pages 457-471, Part I Se.
    4. Falk, Martin & Koebel, Bertrand M., 1997. "The Demand of Heterogeneous Labour in Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 97-28, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    5. Christis Tombazos, 1999. "The role of imports in expanding the demand gap between skilled and unskilled labour in the US," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(4), pages 509-516.
    6. Diewert, Walter E & Wales, Terence J, 1987. "Flexible Functional Forms and Global Curvature Conditions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 43-68, January.
    7. Koebel, Bertrand M. & Falk, Martin, 1999. "Curvature conditions and substitution pattern among capital, energy, materials and heterogeneous labour," ZEW Discussion Papers 99-06, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    8. Allen, Chris & Urga, Giovanni, 1999. "Interrelated Factor Demands from Dynamic Cost Functions: An Application to the Non-energy Business Sector of the UK Economy," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(263), pages 403-413, August.
    9. Cecilia Garcia-Penalosa & Eve Caroli & Philippe Aghion, 1999. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1615-1660, December.
    10. Flaig, Gebhard & Steiner, Viktor, 1989. "Stability and Dynamic Properties of Labour Demand in West German Manufacturing," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 51(4), pages 395-412, November.
    11. Bergstrom, Villy & Panas, Epaminondas E, 1992. "How Robust Is the Capital-Skill Complementarity Hypothesis?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 540-546, August.
    12. repec:dau:papers:123456789/10091 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Julian R. Betts, 1997. "The Skill Bias Of Technological Change In Canadian Manufacturing Industries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(1), pages 146-150, February.
    14. Judson, Ruth A. & Owen, Ann L., 1999. "Estimating dynamic panel data models: a guide for macroeconomists," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 9-15, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. Ericson, Thomas, 2004. "Personnel training: a theoretical and empirical review," Working Paper Series 2005:1, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    2. Rahmah Ismail & Zulridah Mohd. Noor, 2005. "The Role Of Ethics In Economics And Business," IIUM Journal of Economics and Management, IIUM Journal of Economis and Management, vol. 13(2), pages 119-138, December.
    3. Angel de la Fuente & Antonio Ciccone, 2003. "Human capital in a global and knowledge-based economy," Working Papers 70, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    4. Richard Mussa, 2013. "Rural--urban differences in parental spending on children's primary education in Malawi," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(6), pages 789-811, December.
    5. Andrea Bassanini, 2006. "Training, wages and employment security: an empirical analysis on European data," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(8), pages 523-527.
    6. Naccarato, Toni & Brophy, Megan & Courtney, Mark E., 2010. "Employment outcomes of foster youth: The results from the Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Foster Youth," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 551-559, April.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    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:taf:applec:v:33:y:2001:i:4:p:463-471. 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: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.