Changes in the Characteristics of American Youth: Implications for Adult Outcomes

49 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2016

See all articles by Joseph G. Altonji

Joseph G. Altonji

Yale University - Economic Growth Center; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Prashant Bharadwaj

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics

Fabian Lange

McGill University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2008

Abstract

We examine changes in the characteristics of American youth between the late 1970s and the late 1990s, with a focus on characteristics that matter for labor market success. We reweight the NLSY79 to look like the NLSY97 along a number of dimensions that are related to labor market success, including race, gender, parental background, education, test scores, and variables that capture whether individuals transition smoothly from school to work. We then use the re-weighted sample to examine how changes in the distribution of observable skills affect employment and wages. We also use more standard regression methods to assess the labor market consequences of differences between the two cohorts. Overall, we find that the current generation is more skilled than the previous one. Blacks and Hispanics have gained relative to whites and women have gained relative to men. However, skill differences within groups have increased considerably and in aggregate the skill distribution has widened. Changes in parental education seem to generate many of the observed changes

JEL Classification: J01, J11, J15, J16, J31, J82

Suggested Citation

Altonji, Joseph G. and Bharadwaj, Prashant and Lange, Fabian, Changes in the Characteristics of American Youth: Implications for Adult Outcomes (March 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2872289 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2872289

Joseph G. Altonji

Yale University - Economic Growth Center ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, CT 06520-8269
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

Prashant Bharadwaj

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0508
United States

Fabian Lange (Contact Author)

McGill University ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. W
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1G5
Canada

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