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The Racial Wage Gap: The Importance of Labor Force Attachment Differences Across Black, Mexican and White Men

  • Heather Antecol

    (Claremont McKenna College)

  • Kelly Bedard

    (UC - Santa Barbara)

Labor market attachment differs significantly across black, Mexican and white men; black and Mexican men are more likely to experience unemployment and out of the labor force spells than are white men. While it has long been agreed that potential experience is a poor proxy of actual experience for women, many view it as an acceptable approximation for men. Using the NLSY, this paper documents the substantial difference between potential and actual experience for both black and Mexican men. We show that the fraction of the black/white and Mexican/white wage gaps that are explained by differences in potential experience are very different than the fraction of the racial wage gaps that are explained by actual (real) experience differences. We further show that the fraction of the racial wage gap explained by education is substantially overstated when potential experience is used instead of actual experience.

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File URL: http://www.claremontmckenna.edu/rdschool/papers/2001-35.pdf
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Paper provided by Claremont Colleges in its series Claremont Colleges Working Papers with number 2001-35.

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Date of creation: Nov 2001
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Handle: RePEc:clm:clmeco:2001-35
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  1. Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1992. "The Determinants of Black-White Differences in Early Employment Careers: Search, Layoffs, Quits, and Endogenous Wage Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 535-60, June.
  2. Heather Antecol & Kelly Bedard, 2002. "The Relative earnings of young Mexican, black, and white women," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(1), pages 122-135, October.
  3. Gregory Defreitas, 1986. "A Time-Series Analysis of Hispanic Unemployment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(1), pages 24-43.
  4. Nan L. Maxwell, 1994. "The Effect on Black-White Wage Differences of Differences in the Quantity and Quality of Education," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(2), pages 249-264, January.
  5. 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.
  6. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "School Quality and Black-White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment," NBER Working Papers 3713, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Moon-Kak Kim & Solomon W. Polachek, 1994. "Panel Estimates of Male-Female Earnings Functions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 406-428.
  8. J. A. Hausman, 1976. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Working papers 185, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Dan Black & Amelia Haviland & Seth Sanders & Lowell Taylor, 2006. "Why Do Minority Men Earn Less? A Study of Wage Differentials among the Highly Educated," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 300-313, May.
  10. Bernt Bratsberg & Dek Terrell, 1998. "Experience, Tenure, and Wage Growth of Young Black and White Men," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(3), pages 658-682.
  11. Nan L. Maxwell, 1994. "The effect on black-white wage differences of differences in the quantity and quality of education," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(2), pages 249-264, January.
  12. Ronald Oaxaca, 1971. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," Working Papers 396, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  13. Trejo, Stephen J, 1997. "Why Do Mexican Americans Earn Low Wages?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1235-68, December.
  14. McManus, Walter & Gould, William & Welch, Finis, 1983. "Earnings of Hispanic Men: The Role of English Language Proficiency," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(2), pages 101-30, April.
  15. Grogger, Jeff, 1996. "Does School Quality Explain the Recent Black/White Wage Trend?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(2), pages 231-53, April.
  16. 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.
  17. Marjorie Baldwin & William G. Johnson, 1996. "The employment effects of wage discrimination against black men," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(2), pages 302-316, January.
  18. Trejo, Stephen, 2001. "Intergenerational Progress of Mexican-Origin Workers in the U.S. Labor Market," IZA Discussion Papers 377, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. Marjorie L. Baldwin & William G. Johnson, 1996. "The Employment Effects of Wage Discrimination against Black Men," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(2), pages 302-316, January.
  20. Derek A. Neal & William R. Johnson, 1995. "The Role of Pre-Market Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," NBER Working Papers 5124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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