The Southern wage gap, human capital and the quality of education

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Much of the literature on the racial wage gap in the US has focused on the importance of differences in human capital. The racial difference in school quality has been large but has diminished over time. Research indicates that in the years from 1920 to 1940, an average of 28% of the racial literacy gap can be explained by race differences in school inputs. The desegregation of schools, begun in 1954, accelerated the gradual convergence in the quality of white and black education. I examine 15 Southern states which had data on the segregated white and black school systems. I have attempted to link the demonstrated lower quality of education during segregation in the South to the persistent Southern wage gap. In addition I have tried to establish a role for educational quality in the rapid increase in the Southern black to white income ratios over the last few decades. While the quality of education is my main concern in this study, I have also controlled for other important Southern economic trends that have been demonstrated to have had a clear impact on Southern wages. The findings of this study are two-fold: episodic trends in the Southern wage gap are partially explained by periods of market disequilibria, while new evidence is found that the inferior quality of black schools during segregation has significantly hampered a full black/white income parity. -from Author

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Nechyba, TJ

Published Date

  • January 1, 1990

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 57 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 308 - 322

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0038-4038

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2307/1060612

Citation Source

  • Scopus