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Changes in the Characteristics of American Youth: Implications for Adult Outcomes

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  • Joseph G. Altonji
  • Prashant Bharadwaj
  • Fabian Lange

Abstract

We examine changes in the characteristics of American youth between the late 1970s and the late 1990s, with a focus on characteristics that matter for labor market success. The current generation is more skilled than the previous one. Blacks and Hispanics have gained relative to whites, and women have gained relative to men. However, the skill distribution has widened overall. Shifts in parental education generate many of the observed changes. We also provide speculative estimates suggesting that if recent trends in technology and the supply of human capital continue, wage inequality will increase substantially by 2025.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph G. Altonji & Prashant Bharadwaj & Fabian Lange, 2012. "Changes in the Characteristics of American Youth: Implications for Adult Outcomes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(4), pages 783-828.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/666536
    DOI: 10.1086/666536
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J82 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Labor Force Composition

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