Working Papers

2000-07 | August 2000

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Black-White Wage Inequality in the 1990s: A Decade of Progress

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Using Current Population Survey data, we find that the gap between wages by black and white males declined during the 1990s at a rate of 0.59 percentage point per year. The reduction in occupational crowding appears to be most important in explaining this trend. Recent wage convergence was most rapid among younger workers with less than 10 years experience; for this group the black-white wage gap declined by 1.40 percentage points per year. Among younger workers greater occupational diversity and a reduction in unexplained or residual differences are important in explaining this trend. For both younger and older workers, general wage inequality tempered the rate of wage convergence between blacks and whites during the 1990s.

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