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Wage Progression Among Less Skilled Workers

  • Tricia Lynn Gladden
  • Christopher R. Taber
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    Despite the large amount of work in labor economics devoted towards wage progress we know surprisingly little about the mechanics of wage growth, particularly among low skilled workers. This paper takes a step in this direction by examining wage progression between and among moderate to low skilled workers. We find that once true labor market experience is taken into account appropriately, there are not large differences in earnings growth between low skilled workers and medium skilled workers despite the substantial difference in wage levels. In particular the return to experience for high school dropouts is almost exactly the same as the return for high school graduates. This return also does not differ across individuals from different family backgrounds. However, we do find differences between blacks and whites, and men and women.

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    Paper provided by Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research in its series JCPR Working Papers with number 72.

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    Date of creation: 01 Feb 1999
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    Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:72
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    1. Rosella Gardecki & David Neumark, 1998. "Order from chaos? The effects of early labor market experiences on adult labor market outcomes," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(2), pages 299-322, January.
    2. Murphy, Kevin M & Welch, Finis, 1992. "The Structure of Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 285-326, February.
    3. Altonji, Joseph G. & Blank, Rebecca M., 1999. "Race and gender in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 48, pages 3143-3259 Elsevier.
    4. Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, 2001. "Employer Learning And Statistical Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 313-350, February.
    5. Topel, Robert H & Ward, Michael P, 1992. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 439-79, May.
    6. James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explorations with a Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings with Heterogeneous Agents," NBER Working Papers 6384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Flinn, Christopher J, 1986. "Wages and Job Mobility of Young Workers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages S88-S110, June.
    8. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1991. "The Nonequivalence of High School Equivalents," NBER Working Papers 3804, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Light, Audrey & Ureta, Manuelita, 1995. "Early-Career Work Experience and Gender Wage Differentials," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 121-54, January.
    10. Jacob Mincer & Boyan Jovanovic, 1981. "Labor Mobility and Wages," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 21-64 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. David Neumark, 1998. "Youth Labor Markets in the U.S.: Shopping Around vs. Staying Put," NBER Working Papers 6581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Audrey Light & Kathleen McGarry, 1998. "Job Change Patterns And The Wages Of Young Men," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 276-286, May.
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