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

71 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2004 Last revised: 26 Aug 2010

See all articles by David Card

David Card

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Alan B. Krueger

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: May 1991

Abstract

The average wage differential between black and white men fell from 40 percent in 1960 to 25 percent in 1980. Much of this convergence is attributable to a relative increase in the rate of return to schooling among black workers. It is widely argued that the growth in the relative return to black education reflects the dramatic improvements in the quality of black schooling over the past century. To test this hypothesis we have assembled data on three aspects of school quality -- pupil teacher ratios. annual teacher pay. and term length for black and white schools in 18 segregated states from 1915 to 1966. The school quality data are linked to estimated rates of return to education for Southern-born men from different cohorts and states. measured 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.

Suggested Citation

Card, David E. and Krueger, Alan B., School Quality and Black-White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment (May 1991). NBER Working Paper No. w3713. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=226929

David E. Card (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

Room 3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
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510-642-5222 (Phone)
510-643-7042 (Fax)

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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United States

Alan B. Krueger

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-2098
United States
609-258-4046 (Phone)
609-258-2907 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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