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

  • David Card
  • Alan Krueger

The wage differential between black and white men fell from 40 percent in 1960 to 25 percent in 1980. It has been argued that this convergence reflects improvements in the relative quality of black schools. To test this hypothesis, the authors assembled data on pupil-teacher ratios, annual teacher pay, and term length for black and white schools in the eighteen segregated states from 1915 to 1966. These data are linked to estimated returns to education for Southern-born men from different cohorts and states in 1960, 1970, and 1980. Improvements in the relative quality of black schools explain 20 percent of the narrowing of the black-white earnings gap between 1960 and 1980. Copyright 1992, the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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File URL: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01tx31qh702
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Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. in its series Working Papers with number 652.

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Date of creation: Oct 1990
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Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:dsp01tx31qh702
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  1. Orley Ashenfelter, 1969. "Change in Labor Market Discrimination Over Time," Working Papers 387, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. Smith, James P, 1984. "Race and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 685-98, September.
  3. 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.
  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. 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.
  6. 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.
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