Date of Award
Program or Major
Doctor of Philosophy
Allen R Thompson
Even after controlling for racial differences in human capital characteristics, a black-white male earnings gap continues to persist. There have been very few attempts, however, to empirically assess the extent to which occupational segregation can explain this remaining earnings differential.
Drawing on the 1980 Public-Use Microdata Sample (1/1000 C-Sample), multiple regression equations are estimated and employed to identify the impact of occupational segregation on the net black-white make earnings differential. The empirical evidence shows that, after controlling for racial differences in personal characteristics, a black-white male earnings gap of 10.6% continues to persist. Occupational segregation is found to explain almost one-fifth of this remaining gap.
Empirical evidence indicates that occupational segregation explains the entire black-white male differential in rates of return to education: Adding occupational controls to the baseline human capital model completely eliminates the black-white male gap in payoffs to additional schooling, indicating that the relatively lower educational return received by black men is entirely a consequence of the differential distribution of the races across the occupational spectrum.
This study also documents that racial differences in human capital characteristics continue to account for a relatively large portion of the gross black-white male earnings gap. Among urban men aged 16-64, standardizing for racial differences in human capital characteristics eliminates about 54% of the gross black-white male earnings differential. Adding occupational controls to this baseline human capital model increases the portion of the "explained" differential from 54% to 59%. Significantly, even after controlling for both racial differences in human capital characteristics and occupational distribution, the earnings of black men continue to be lower than the earnings received by their white counterparts. This finding suggests that racial differences in rates of return to human capital characteristics and occupational payoffs continues to play a role in lowering the earnings of black men below that received by their white counterparts.
Greene, Michael, "The impact of occupational segregation on the net black-white male earnings gap" (1989). Doctoral Dissertations. 1584.