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Why Do Mexican Americans Earn Low Wages?

  • Trejo, Stephen J

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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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/516391
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 105 (1997)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 1235-68

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:105:y:1997:i:6:p:1235-68
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE/

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  1. repec:fth:prinin:301 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Michael Boozer & Alan Krueger & Shari Wolkon, 1992. "Race and School Quality Since Brown vs. Board of Education," Working Papers 681, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Randall K. Filer, 1993. "The Usefulness of Predicted Values for Prior Work Experience in Analyzing Labor Market Outcomes for Women," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(3), pages 519-537.
  4. Gregory Defreitas, 1986. "A Time-Series Analysis of Hispanic Unemployment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(1), pages 24-43.
  5. Smith, James P & Welch, Finis R, 1989. "Black Economic Progress after Myrdal," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 519-64, June.
  6. Abowd, John M & Killingsworth, Mark R, 1984. "Do Minority-White Unemployment Differences Really Exist?," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(1), pages 64-72, January.
  7. Richard Fry, 1996. "Has The Quality Of Immigrants Declined? Evidence From The Labor Market Attachment Of Immigrants And Natives," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(3), pages 53-70, 07.
  8. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "Demographic Differences in Cyclical Employment Variation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 16(1), pages 61-79.
  9. Kevin M. Murphy & Finis Welch, 1992. "The Structure of Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 285-326.
  10. F. L. Jones, 1983. "On Decomposing the Wage Gap: A Critical Comment on Blinder's Method," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(1), pages 126-130.
  11. John J. Donohue III & James Heckman, 1991. "Continuous Versus Episodic Change: The Impact of Civil Rights Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks," NBER Working Papers 3894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
  13. Reimers, Cordelia W, 1983. "Labor Market Discrimination against Hispanic and Black Men," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 570-79, November.
  14. Gilles Grenier, 1984. "The Effects of Language Characteristics on the Wages of Hispanic-American Males," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(1), pages 35-52.
  15. repec:pri:indrel:301 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Michael A. Boozer & Alan B. Krueger & Shari Wolkon, 1992. "Race and School Quality Since Brown vs. Board of Education," NBER Working Papers 4109, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Wendy L. Rayack, 1991. "Fixed and Flexible Wages: Evidence from Panel Data," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 44(2), pages 288-298, January.
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