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Educational Inequality

  • Yoshiaki Azuma
  • Herschel I. Grossman

This paper develops a theoretical model that relates changes in educational inequality to the combined effects of innovations that have increased the relative demand for more educated labor and innovations that have increased ability premiums. Under the assumption that in the long run individual decisions to become more educated equalize the lifetime earnings of more educated workers and comparable less educated workers, our model yields two novel implications: First, given the existence of ability premiums, an innovation in the relative demand for more educated labor increases educational inequality in the short run, but, ceteris paribus, would decrease educational inequality in the long run. Second, in the long run innovations that increase ability premiums cause educational inequality to be larger than otherwise. In applying our theory to recent changes in educational inequality in the United States, we suggest that increases in ability premiums are dampening the long-run response of the relative supply of more educated workers that otherwise would reverse previous increases in educational inequality.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8206.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8206.

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Date of creation: Apr 2001
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Publication status: published as Yoshiaki Azuma & Herschel I. Grossman, 2003. "Educational Inequality," LABOUR, CEIS, Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini and Blackwell Publishing Ltd, vol. 17(3), pages 317-335, 09.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8206
Note: EFG
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  1. Murnane, Richard J & Willett, John B & Levy, Frank, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 251-66, May.
  2. Galor, Oded & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1997. "Technological Progress, Mobility, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 363-82, June.
  3. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The Skill Content Of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1279-1333, November.
  4. David Autor & Lawrence Katz & Alan Krueger, 1997. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," Working Papers 756, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  5. Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 7800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Huw Lloyd-Ellis, 1999. "Endogenous Technological Change and Wage Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 47-77, March.
  7. Francesco Caselli, 1999. "Technological Revolutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 78-102, March.
  8. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Directed Technical Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 781-809.
  9. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter & Violante, Giovanni L, 2000. "General Purpose Technology and Within-Group Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 2474, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2000. "Ability-Biased Technological Transition, Wage Inequality, And Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 469-497, May.
  11. Gould, Eric D & Moav, Omer & Weinberg, Bruce A, 2001. " Precautionary Demand for Education, Inequality, and Technological Progress," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 285-315, December.
  12. Kalemli-Ozcan, Sebnem & Ryder, Harl E. & Weil, David N., 2000. "Mortality decline, human capital investment, and economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 1-23, June.
  13. 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 410-42, June.
  14. Robert H. Topel, 1997. "Factor Proportions and Relative Wages: The Supply-Side Determinants of Wage Inequality," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 55-74, Spring.
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