NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Why Has Black-White Skill Convergence Stopped?

Derek Neal

NBER Working Paper No. 11090
Issued in January 2005
NBER Program(s):   ED   LS

All data sources indicate that black-white skill gaps diminished over most of the 20th century, but black-white skill gaps as measured by test scores among youth and educational attainment among young adults have remained constant or increased in absolute value since the late 1980s. I examine the potential importance of discrimination against skilled black workers, changes in black family structures, changes in black household incomes, black-white differences in parenting norms, and education policy as factors that may contribute to the recent stability of black-white skill gaps. Absent changes in public policy or the economy that facilitate investment in black children, best case scenarios suggest that even approximate black-white skill parity is not possible before 2050, and equally plausible scenarios imply that the black-white skill gap will remain quite significant throughout the 21st century.

download in pdf format
   (681 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (681 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w11090

Published: “Why Has Black-White Skill Convergence Stopped?” Handbook of Economics of Education, edited by Eric Hanushek and Finis Welch, Elsiver. 2006

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Blau and Kahn w10853 The US Gender Pay Gap in the 1990s: Slowing Convergence
Neal and Johnson w5124 The Role of Pre-Market Factors in Black-White Wage Differences
Chay, Guryan, and Mazumder w15078 Birth Cohort and the Black-White Achievement Gap: The Roles of Access and Health Soon After Birth
Hanushek and Rivkin w12651 School Quality and the Black-White Achievement Gap
Barlevy and Neal w17194 Pay for Percentile
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us