The role of location in evaluating racial wage disparity
A standard object of empirical analysis in labor economics is a modified Mincer wage function in which an individual's log wage is specified to be a function of education, experience, and an indicator variable identifying race. Researchers hope that estimates from this exercise can be informative about the impact of minority status on labor market success. Here we set out a theoretical justification for this regression in a context in which individuals live and work in different locations. Our model leads to the traditional approach, but with the important caveat that the regression should ...
The labor supply of married women: why does it differ across U.S. cities?
Using Census Public Use Micro Sample (PUMS) data for 1980, 1990 and 2000, this paper documents a little-noticed feature of U.S. labor markets that there is wide variation in the labor market participation rates and annual work hours of white married women across urban areas. This variation is also large among sub-groups, including women with children and those with different levels of education. Among the explanations for this variation one emerges as particularly important: married women's labor force participation decisions appear to be very responsive to commuting times. There is a strong ...
The economic progress of African Americans in urban areas: a tale of 14 cities
How significant was the economic progress of African Americans in the United States between 1970 and 2000? In this paper the authors examine this issue for black men 25 to 55 years of age who live in 14 large U.S. metropolitan areas. They present the evidence that significant racial disparities remain in education and labor market outcomes of black and white men, and they discuss changes in industrial composition, migration, and demography that might have contributed to the stagnation of economic progress of black men between 1970 and 2000. In addition, the authors show that there was no ...
Jobless recoveries: causes and consequences
Community colleges and economic mobility
This paper examines the role of community colleges in the U.S. higher education system and their advantages and shortcomings. In particular, it discusses the population of community college students and economic returns to community college education for various demographic groups. It offers new evidence on the returns to an associate's degree. Furthermore, the paper uses data from the National Survey of College Graduates to compare educational objectives, progress, and labor market outcomes of individuals who start their postsecondary education at community colleges with those who start at ...
Revised data show that district gained, not lost, jobs in 2010
Local price variation and labor supply behavior
In standard economic theory, labor supply decisions depend on the complete set of prices: the wage and the prices of relevant consumption goods. Nonetheless, most of theoretical and empirical work ignores prices other than wages when studying labor supply. The question we address in this paper is whether the common practice of ignoring local price variation in labor supply studies is as innocuous as has generally been assumed. We describe a simple model to demonstrate that the effects of wage and non-labor income on labor supply will typically differ by location. We show, in particular, the ...
A bleak 30 years for black men: economic progress was slim in urban America
In many ways, black men were still worse off than white men in 2000, more than three decades after passage of the Civil Rights Act. A decline in manufacturing and relatively low levels of education were contributing factors.
Earnings functions when wages and prices vary by location
In this paper we study whether location-specific price variation likely affects statistical inference and theoretical interpretation in the empirical implementation of human capital earnings functions. We demonstrate, in a model of local labor markets, that the ?return to schooling" is a constant across locations if and only if preferences are homothetic ? a special case that seems unlikely to generally pertain. Examination of U.S. Census data (for 1980, 1990, and 2000) provides persuasive evidence that the return to a college education, relative to a high school education, does indeed vary ...
Gender wage gap may be much smaller than most think