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Do returns to schooling differ by race and ethnicity?

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Listed:
  • Lisa Barrow
  • Cecilia Elena Rouse

Abstract

Using data from the U.S. Decennial Census and the National Longitudinal Surveys, we find little evidence of differences in the return to schooling across racial and ethnic groups, even with attempts to control for ability and measurement error biases. While our point estimates are relatively similar across racial and ethnic groups, our conclusion is driven in part by relatively large standard errors. ; That said, we find no evidence that returns to schooling are lower for African Americans or Hispanics than for non-minorities. As a result, policies that increase education among the low-skilled have a good possibility of increasing economic well-being and reducing inequality. More generally, our analysis suggests further research is needed to better understand the nature of measurement error and ability bias across subgroups in order to fully understand potential heterogeneity in the return to schooling across the population.

Suggested Citation

  • Lisa Barrow & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 2005. "Do returns to schooling differ by race and ethnicity?," Working Paper Series WP-05-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-05-02
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David Card, 1994. "Earnings, Schooling, and Ability Revisited," Working Papers 710, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    2. Katharine L. Bradbury, 2002. "Education and wages in the 1980s and 1990s: are all groups moving up together?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Q 1, pages 19-46.
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    4. Thomas J. Kane & Cecilia Elena Rouse & Douglas Staiger, 1999. "Estimating Returns to Schooling When Schooling is Misreported," NBER Working Papers 7235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Human Capital Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 821, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Jin Huem Park, 1994. "Estimation of Sheepskin Effects and Returns to Schooling Using he Old and the New CPS Measures of Educational Attainment," Working Papers 717, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    7. William Rodgers & William Spriggs, 1996. "What does the AFQT really measure: Race, wages, schooling and the AFQT score," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 24(4), pages 13-46, June.
    8. Christopher R. Taber, 2001. "The Rising College Premium in the Eighties: Return to College or Return to Unobserved Ability?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(3), pages 665-691.
    9. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-895, October.
    10. Altonji, Joseph G & Dunn, Thomas A, 1996. "The Effects of Family Characteristics on the Return to Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 692-704, November.
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    13. Lisa Barrow & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 2005. "Do Returns to Schooling Differ by Race and Ethnicity?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 83-87, May.
    14. Orley Ashenfelter & Cecilia Rouse, 1998. "Income, Schooling, and Ability: Evidence from a New Sample of Identical Twins," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 253-284.
    15. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Keueger, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014.
    16. Jin Huem Park, 1994. "Estimation of Sheepskin Effects and Returns to Schooling Using he Old and the New CPS Measures of Educational Attainment," Working Papers 717, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    17. Thomas J. Kane & Cecilia Rouse & Douglas Staiger, 1999. "Estimating Returns to Schooling When Schooling is Misreported," Working Papers 798, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    18. Chamberlain, Gary & Griliches, Zvi, 1975. "Unobservables with a Variance-Components Structure: Ability, Schooling, and the Economic Success of Brothers," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 16(2), pages 422-449, June.
    19. Ashenfelter, Orley & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Estimates of the Economic Returns to Schooling from a New Sample of Twins," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1157-1173, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Nordin & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2014. "Increasing Returns to Schooling by Ability? A Comparison between the USA and Sweden," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 82, pages 1-20, December.
    2. Mehmet Soytas & Limor Golan & George-Levi Gayle, 2014. "What Accounts for the Racial Gap in Time Allocation and Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital?," 2014 Meeting Papers 83, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Pierre-André CHIAPPORI & Sonia OREFFICE & Climent QUINTANA-DOMEQUE, 2016. "Black-White Marital Matching: Race, Anthtopometrics and Socioeconomics," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 82(4), pages 399-421, December.
    4. Lisa Barrow & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 2005. "Do Returns to Schooling Differ by Race and Ethnicity?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 83-87, May.
    5. Philippe Belley & Lance Lochner, 2007. "The Changing Role of Family Income and Ability in Determining Educational Achievement," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 37-89.
    6. Steven J. Haider & Kathleen M. McGarry, 2012. "Parental Investments in College and Later Cash Transfers," NBER Working Papers 18485, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Leslie S Stratton & James N. Wetzel, 2008. "Increasing Returns to Education and Progress towards a College Degree," Working Papers 0805, VCU School of Business, Department of Economics.
    8. Anchor, John R. & Fiserová, Jana & Mars[iota]ková, Katerina & Urbánek, Václav, 2011. "Student expectations of the financial returns to higher education in the Czech Republic and England: Evidence from business schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 673-681, August.
    9. Fan, Jing-bo & Zhang, Cheng-gang, 2015. "A study of the rate of return to higher engineering education in China," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 106-114.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Education ; Employees; Training of;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; 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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