Meritocracy in America: An Examination of Wages within and Across Occupations
48 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2000 Last revised: 14 Aug 2022
Date Written: March 1998
In The Bell Curve, Herrnstein and Murray argue that the U.S. economy is a meritocracy in which differences in wages (including differences across race and gender) are explained by differences in cognitive ability. In this paper we test their claim for wages conditional on occupation using a simultaneous model of occupation choice and wage determination. Our results contradict Herrnstein and Murray's claim that the U.S. labor market operates only on meritocratic principles.
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