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The Human Capital Approach to Black-White Earnings Inequality: Some Unsettled Questions

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  • William A. Darity Jr.

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • William A. Darity Jr., 1982. "The Human Capital Approach to Black-White Earnings Inequality: Some Unsettled Questions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(1), pages 72-93.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:17:y:1982:i:1:p:72-93
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Cecilia Conrad, 1984. "Comments on the Richard McGahey article," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 99-102, June.
    2. Sai Ding & Shi Li & Samuel L. Myers, Jr., 2011. "Inter-temporal Changes in Ethnic Urban Earnings Disparities in China," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 201121, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
    3. Gregory Fairchild, 2009. "Racial segregation in the public schools and adult labor market outcomes: the case of black Americans," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 467-484, December.
    4. Kahanec, Martin, 2006. "Ethnic Specialization and Earnings Inequality: Why Being a Minority Hurts but Being a Big Minority Hurts More," IZA Discussion Papers 2050, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Harry Anthony Patrinos & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2007. "Economic Opportunities for Indigenous Peoples in Latin America : Conference Edition," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8019, The World Bank.
    6. George McCarthy, 1992. "The Role of Unemployment in Triggering Internal Labor Migration," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_75, Levy Economics Institute.
    7. François Combarnous, 1994. "Discrimination et marché du travail : concepts et théories," Documents de travail 02, Groupe d'Economie du Développement de l'Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV.
    8. Kimmel, Jean, 1997. "Rural wages and returns to education: Differences between whites, blacks, and American Indians," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 81-96, February.
    9. Thomas Masterson & Ajit Zacharias & Fernando Rios-Avila & Edward N. Wolff, 2017. "The Great Recession and Racial Inequality: Evidence from Measures of Economic Well-Being," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_880, Levy Economics Institute.
    10. Chiappero-Martinetti, Enrica & Sabadash, Anna, 2014. "Integrating Human Capital and Human Capabilities in Understanding the Value of Education," MPRA Paper 61800, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Kahanec, M., 2004. "Social Interaction and the Minority-Majority Earnings Inequality : Why Being a Minority Hurts but being a big Minority Hurts More," Discussion Paper 2004-41, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    12. Patricia E. Gaynor & Garey C. Durden, 1997. "The Cost of Being Nonwhite and the Added Cost of Being Female in The South and Southwest," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 27(2), pages 195-209, Fall.
    13. Patrinos, Harry Anthony & Skoufias, Emmanuel & Lunde, Trine, 2007. "Indigenous peoples in Latin America : economic opportunities and social networks," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4227, The World Bank.

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