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School Quality and Black/White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment

Author

Listed:
  • David Card

    (Princeton University)

  • Alan B. Krueger

    (Princeton University)

Abstract

Between 1960 and 1980 the gap in earnings between black and white males narrowed by 15 percent. A detailed analysis of 1960, 1970, and 1980 Census data indicates that increases in the relative return to education were largely responsible for black workers' relative earnings gains. One explanation for these higher returns is that they reflect the market valuation of higher-quality schooling available to later cohorts of black students. To investigate the role of school quality in the convergence of black and white earnings, we have assembled data on three aspects of school quality -- pupil/teacher ratios, annual teacher pay, and term length -- for black and white schools in l8 segregated states from 1915 to 1966. The school quality data are then linked to estimated rates of return to education for men from different cohorts and states. Improvements in the relative quality of black schools explain roughly 20 percent of the narrowing of the black-white earnings gap in this period.

Suggested Citation

  • David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1990. "School Quality and Black/White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment," Working Papers 652, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:272
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Working Papers 645, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    2. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1992. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-40, February.
    3. David Card & A. Abigail Payne, 1997. "School Finance Reform, the Distribution of School Spending, and the Distribution of SAT Scores," Working Papers 766, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    4. Charles Brown, 1981. "The Federal Attack on Labor Market Discrimination: The Mouse that Roared?," NBER Working Papers 0669, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Orley Ashenfelter, 1970. "Changes in Labor Market Discrimination Over Time," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 5(4), pages 403-430.
    6. Greg J. Duncan & Saul D. Hoffman, 1983. "A New Look at the Causes of the Improved Economic Status of Black Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(2), pages 268-282.
    7. Smith, James P, 1984. "Race and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 685-698, September.
    8. repec:fth:prinin:265 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Richard B. Freeman, 1973. "Changes in the Labor Market for Black Americans, 1948-72," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 4(1), pages 67-132.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; school quality; black/white earnings differentials; segregation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General

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