Changes in Labor Force Composition and Male Earnings: A Production Approach
Models of aggregate production are estimated and used to investigate the effects of changes in labor force composition on the recently observed decline in the earnings of college graduates relative to other workers and on the fall in the earnings of younger workers relative to older workers. Changes in labor force composition explain substantial proportions of these observed earnings changes. The most important compositional change appears to have been the rapid increase in the number of young male college graduates. Projections outside the sample are consistent with depressed earnings throughout the lifetimes of the large baby-boom cohorts, especially among college graduates, but do not suggest that depressed college graduate earnings are a permanent phenomenon for all birth cohorts.