Why Do Mexican Americans Earn Low Wages?
Using Current Population Survey data from November 1979 and 1989, the author finds that Mexican Americans earn low wages primarily because they possess less human capital than other workers, not because they receive smaller labor-market rewards for their skills. Among third- and higher-generation men in 1989, Mexicans averaged 21 percent lower wages than non-Hispanic whites, which is roughly similar to the wage deficit for blacks. For Mexicans, more than three-quarters of the wage gap is attributable to their relative youth, English language deficiencies, and especially their lower educational attainment. By contrast, these variables explain less than a third of the black-white wage gap. Copyright 1997 by the University of Chicago.
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