The Returns to Education and the Increasing Wage Gap Between Younger and Older Workers
Using a regression decomposition approach, we find that, during the 1980s, the growth in the relative educational attainment of older workers has contributed to about one-quarter of the increase in the age-wage gap of men and women. During the 1990s, the age-wage gap increased to a much lesser extent. Changing relative educational attainment accounted for a much greater proportion of the much smaller increase in the gap: almost one-half for males and over three-quarters for women. We also find that, during the 1980s, the expected weekly wages associated with all levels of education fell for younger workers, both for men and women (from 2% to 16%, depending upon education level). Older employees, on the other hand, experienced mixed results. Expected weekly wages rose for some older workers and fell for some others.
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