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Racial Differences in Fringe Benefits and Compensation


  • Mok, Wallace

    () (Chinese University of Hong Kong)

  • Siddique, Zahra

    () (University of Bristol)


This paper examines differences in two important components of non-wage compensation, employer provided health insurance and pensions, across African Americans and the whites in the United States. Using data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), we study the recent trends in the recipiency of this non-wage compensation across race groups. Our results show that African American men on average are significantly less likely to receive employer provided health insurance and pension than whites in the last decade. We also find that the inclusion of racial differences in ability as measured by the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score reduces the unexplained racial gap in fringe benefit offers, highlighting the importance of human capital variables in fringe benefit recipiency. Finally, we re-examine racial inequality in the labor market by examining within-group inequality in compensation over the last decade and also the role of ability in between-group inequality in compensation.

Suggested Citation

  • Mok, Wallace & Siddique, Zahra, 2009. "Racial Differences in Fringe Benefits and Compensation," IZA Discussion Papers 4435, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4435

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eric Solberg & Teresa Laughlin, 1995. "The Gender Pay Gap, Fringe Benefits, and Occupational Crowding," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(4), pages 692-708, July.
    2. Barry T. Hirsch & David A. Macpherson, 2004. "Wages, Sorting on Skill, and the Racial Composition of Jobs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 189-210, January.
    3. Barry T. Hirsch & David A. MacPherson, 2003. "Union Membership and Coverage Database from the Current Population Survey: Note," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(2), pages 349-354, January.
    4. 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.
    5. Farber, Henry S. & Levy, Helen, 2000. "Recent trends in employer-sponsored health insurance coverage: are bad jobs getting worse?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 93-119, January.
    6. Wankyo Chung, 2003. "Fringe Benefits and Inequality in the Labor Market," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(3), pages 517-529, July.
    7. Derek Neal, 2004. "The Measured Black-White Wage Gap among Women Is Too Small," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages 1-28, February.
    8. Altonji, Joseph G. & Blank, Rebecca M., 1999. "Race and gender in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 48, pages 3143-3259 Elsevier.
    9. 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.
    10. Bloom, David E & Freeman, Richard B, 1992. "The Fall in Private Pension Coverage in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 539-545, May.
    11. Patricia M. Anderson & Bruce D. Meyer, 1997. "Unemployment Insurance Takeup Rates and the After-Tax Value of Benefits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 913-937.
    12. José Mata & José A. F. Machado, 2005. "Counterfactual decomposition of changes in wage distributions using quantile regression," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 445-465.
    13. Royalty, Anne Beeson, 2000. "Tax preferences for fringe benefits and workers' eligibility for employer health insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 209-227, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mok, Wallace & Siddique, Zahra, 2011. "Racial and Ethnic Inequality in Employer Provided Fringe Benefits," IZA Discussion Papers 6255, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    economics of minorities and races; non-wage labor costs and benefits;

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions

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