IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The NELS Curve: Replicating The Bell Curve


  • Levine, David I.
  • Painter, Gary


This study uses the National Educational Longitudinal Survey of 1988 (NELS) to replicate both the analysis in The Bell Curve and that of several of its previous replications. We examine the relative importance of test scores and family background in predicting dropping out of high school, starting college, arrests, and out-of-wedlock fertility. Our results relax several arbitrary assumptions made in The Bell Curve. We strongly reject The Bell Curve's conclusion that family backgrou nd is almost always less important than test scores in predicting outcomes. In addition, our analysis casts doubt on some of The Bell Curve's claims concerning reverse discrimination in education

Suggested Citation

  • Levine, David I. & Painter, Gary, 1998. "The NELS Curve: Replicating The Bell Curve," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt50520524, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:indrel:qt50520524

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:;origin=repeccitec
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Patrick Mason, 1997. "Race, culture, and skill: Interracial wage differences among African Americans, Latinos, and whites," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 5-39, March.
    2. Grogger, Jeff, 1998. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 756-791, October.
    3. David Neumark, 1988. "Employers' Discriminatory Behavior and the Estimation of Wage Discrimination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(3), pages 279-295.
    4. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:indrel:qt50520524. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lisa Schiff). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.