Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 4 No. 4 (Fall 1990)
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The Role of Human Capital in Earnings Differences between Black and White Men
O'Neill, June. 1990. "The Role of Human Capital in Earnings Differences between Black and White Men." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 4(4): 25-45.
This article examines the factors underlying the differential in earnings between black men and white men, with a focus on the role of human capital. Since 1940, successive generations of black men entering the labor force have been increasingly more educated relative to white men, both in terms of years of school completed and in the quality of schooling obtained. This convergence in educational differences combined with the migration of blacks out of the South contributed to the narrowing in the racial gap in earnings over the 1940-80 period, particularly in the first half of the period. The discussion focuses on men, rather than on all blacks. The black-white wage gap has remained considerably larger among men than among women, making racial differences among men an issue of particular concern.
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O'Neill, June (Baruch College, CUNY)
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