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The Gender Gap Reloaded: Are School Characteristics Linked to Labor Market Performance?


  • Spyros Konstantopoulos
  • Amelie Constant


This study examines the wage gender gap of young adults in the 1970s, 1980s, and 2000 in the US. Using quantile regression we estimate the gender gap across the entire wage distribution. We also study the importance of high school characteristics in predicting future labor market performance. We conduct analyses for three major racial/ethnic groups in the US: Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics, employing data from two rich longitudinal studies: NLS and NELS. Our results indicate that while some school characteristics are positive and significant predictors of future wages for Whites, they are less so for the two minority groups. We find significant wage gender disparities favoring men across all three surveys in the 1970s, 1980s, and 2000. The wage gender gap is more pronounced in higher paid jobs (90th quantile) for all groups, indicating the presence of a persistent and alarming "glass ceiling."

Suggested Citation

  • Spyros Konstantopoulos & Amelie Constant, 2007. "The Gender Gap Reloaded: Are School Characteristics Linked to Labor Market Performance?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 711, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp711

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Beblo, Miriam & Wolf, Elke, 2002. "Wage Penalties for Career Interruptions: An Empirical Analysis for West Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 02-45, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    2. Mincer, Jacob & Polachek, Solomon, 1974. "Family Investment in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 76-108, Part II, .
    3. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters,in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Kunze, Astrid, 2002. "The Timing of Careers and Human Capital Depreciation," IZA Discussion Papers 509, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, January.
    6. Light, Audrey & Ureta, Manuelita, 1995. "Early-Career Work Experience and Gender Wage Differentials," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 121-154, January.
    7. Jacob Mincer & Haim Ofek, 1982. "Interrupted Work Careers: Depreciation and Restoration of Human Capital," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(1), pages 3-24.
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    More about this item


    Wages; gender differences; school effects; quantile regression;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials


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