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Down from the Mountain: Skill Upgrading and Wages in Appalachia

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  • Christopher Bollinger
  • James P. Ziliak
  • Kenneth R. Troske

Abstract

The Appalachian region has experienced persistently higher poverty and lower earnings than the rest of the United States. We examine whether skill differentials or differences in the returns to those skills lie at the root of the Appalachian wage gap. Using census data, we decompose the Appalachian wage gap using both mean and full distribution methods. Our findings suggest that significant upgrading of skills within the region has prevented the gap from widening over the last 20 years. Additionally we find that urban areas within Appalachia have not experienced the rise in returns to skills as in non-Appalachian urban areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Bollinger & James P. Ziliak & Kenneth R. Troske, 2011. "Down from the Mountain: Skill Upgrading and Wages in Appalachia," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(4), pages 819-857.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/660773
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    1. repec:dau:papers:123456789/12203 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Chi, Wei & Li, Bo, 2014. "Trends in China’s gender employment and pay gap: Estimating gender pay gaps with employment selection," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 708-725.
    3. Christophe Nordman & Julia Vaillant, 2013. "Inputs, Gender Roles or Sharing Norms? Assessing the Gender Performance Gap Among Informal Entrepreneurs in Madagascar," Working Papers DT/2013/15, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    4. Partridge, Mark & Betz, Mike, 2012. "Country Road Take Me Home: Migration Patterns in the Appalachia America and Place-Based Policy," MPRA Paper 38293, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Jonathan Eyer & Matthew E. Kahn, 2017. "Prolonging Coal’s Sunset: The Causes and Consequences of Local Protectionism for a Declining Polluting Industry," NBER Working Papers 23190, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets

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