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Skinning the Cat: Education Distribution, Changes in the School Premium and Earnings Inequality

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  • Sergio G. Ferreira

    (IBMEC Business School - Rio de Janeiro)

Abstract

This paper applies the procedure in JUHN ET ALL (1993) to decompose changes in income inequality over time in terms of education-related causal factors: school premiums, educational distribution and residual changes. The main conclusion is that reductions in the school premiums have systematically had a negative impact on income inequality during the last twenty years. At the same time, education has become more unequally distributed for individuals below the median labor income level and more equally distributed for those above it. The combination of the two forces has reduced income dispersion for the top half of earners, and slightly increased it among the bottom half. This difference in trends of educational distribution lies behind an apparently stable profile of income inequality (considering the whole earnings distribution).

Suggested Citation

  • Sergio G. Ferreira, 2005. "Skinning the Cat: Education Distribution, Changes in the School Premium and Earnings Inequality," IBMEC RJ Economics Discussion Papers 2005-03, Economics Research Group, IBMEC Business School - Rio de Janeiro.
  • Handle: RePEc:ibr:dpaper:2005-03
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daron Acemoglu, 1999. "Changes in Unemployment and Wage Inequality: An Alternative Theory and Some Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1259-1278, December.
    2. Boyan Jovanovic & Rafael Rob, 1989. "The Growth and Diffusion of Knowledge," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 569-582.
    3. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
    4. Ram, Rati, 1990. "Educational Expansion and Schooling Inequality: International Evidence and Some Implications," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 266-274, May.
    5. Almeida dos Reis, Jose Guilherme & Paes de Barros, Ricardo, 1991. "Wage inequality and the distribution of education : A study of the evolution of regional differences in inequality in metropolitan Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 117-143, July.
    6. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-442, June.
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