Meritocracy without Rising Inequality?

Brief

Meritocracy without Rising Inequality?

Wage Rate Differences Are Widening by Education and Narrowing by Gender and Race
September 1, 1997

Abstract

This policy brief cites evidence for the rising demand for skill in the U.S. labor market. It uses data on wage rates and hours worked from the Survey of Income and Program Participation to look at two questions about wage inequality since the mid-1980s: Are wage differentials becoming more related to education and less related to gender and race? How have changes in average wage differences among education, gender, and race groups contributed to changes in overall wage inequality? An addendum to the brief is attached; it assesses the appropriateness of using Current Population Survey data to answer these questions.

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