NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Post-Secondary Education and Increasing Wage Inequality

Thomas Lemieux

NBER Working Paper No. 12077
Issued in March 2006
NBER Program(s):   ED   LS

The paper presents descriptive evidence from quantile regressions and more "structural" estimates from a human capital model with heterogenous returns to show that most of the increase in wage inequality between 1973 and 2005 is due to a dramatic increase in the return to post-secondary education. The model with heterogenous returns also helps explain why both the relative wages and the within-group dispersion among highly-educated workers have increased in tandem over time. These findings add to the growing evidence that, far from being ubiquitous, changes in wage inequality are increasingly concentrated in the very top end of the wage distribution.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12077

Published: Lemieux, Thomas. "Postsecondary Education And Increasing Wage Inequality," American Economic Review, 2006, v96(2,May), 195-199.

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