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Progress in Human Capital Analysis of the Distribution of Earnings

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  • Jacob Mincer

Abstract

The traditional studies of income distribution, a field with which economists are becoming increasingly concerned, must be described as basically sociological. The ascendancy of the human capital approach can be viewed as a reaction of economists to this non-economic, though certainly not irrelevant, tradition. In stressing the role played by individual and family optimizing decisions in human capital investments, important aspects of income determination are brought back within the mainstream of economic theory and within the power of its analytical and econometric tools. Human capital is not the only element of choice in the analysis of income distribution . Nevertheless, it appears that the subject of human capital investments lends itself to a more systematic and comprehensive analysis of wage differentials, than each of the other factors. The following is a description of research in the distribution of labor incomes in which human capital theory serves as an organizing principle. It is, in part, a sequel to my 1970 survey and, in part, a report of ongoing research of my own and of others.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacob Mincer, 1974. "Progress in Human Capital Analysis of the Distribution of Earnings," NBER Working Papers 0053, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0053
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Griliches, Zvi & Mason, William M, 1972. "Education, Income, and Ability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(3), pages 74-103, Part II, .
    2. George E. Johnson & Frank P. Stafford, 1973. "Social Returns to Quantity and Quality of Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(2), pages 139-155.
    3. Simon Kuznets & Milton Friedman, 1939. "Incomes from Independent Professional Practice, 1929-1936," NBER Chapters,in: Incomes from Independent Professional Practice, 1929-1936 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Weiss, Yoram, 1971. "Investment in Graduate Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(5), pages 833-852, December.
    5. Gary S. Becker & George J. Stigler, 1974. "Law Enforcement, Malfeasance, and Compensation of Enforcers," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, January.
    6. Hause, John C, 1972. "Earnings Profile: Ability and Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(3), pages 108-138, Part II, .
    7. Milton Friedman, 1953. "Choice, Chance, and the Personal Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61, pages 277-277.
    8. Arleen Leibowitz, 1974. "Production Within the Household," NBER Working Papers 0027, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352-352.
    10. Gintis, Herbert, 1971. "Education, Technology, and the Characteristics of Worker Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 266-279, May.
    11. Paul J. Taubman & Terence Wales, 1974. "Higher Education and Earnings: College as an Investment and Screening Device," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number taub74-1, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Beffy, Magali & Buchinsky, Mosche & Fougère, Denis & Kamionka, Thierry & Kramarz, Francis, 2006. "The Returns to Seniority in France (and Why are They Lower than in the United States?)," CEPR Discussion Papers 5486, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Ipek Ilkkaracan & Raziye Selim, 2007. "The Gender Wage Gap in the Turkish Labor Market," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 21(3), pages 563-593, September.

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