The Human Capital Approach to Black-White Earnings Inequality: Some Unsettled Questions
The persistence of earnings differences between blacks and whites in the United States has been a topic that has received a substantial amount of attention in both theoretical and empirical research in economics. The differential in earnings typically is tied to racial differences in human capital accumulation. This paper advances a systematic critique of the human capital approach to black-white inequality. Inadequacies are identified in human capital theory as a general theory of inequality as well as a specific theory of racial inequality. The critique suggests that a serious analysis of the black-white earnings gap will require an entirely new approach to the study of racial income inequality.