NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
loading...

Recent Flattening in the Higher Education Wage Premium: Polarization, Skill Downgrading, or Both?

Robert G. Valletta

NBER Working Paper No. 22935
Issued in December 2016
NBER Program(s):Economics of Education, Labor Studies

Wage gaps between workers with a college or graduate degree and those with only a high school degree rose rapidly in the United States during the 1980s. Since then, the rate of growth in these wage gaps has progressively slowed, and though the gaps remain large, they were essentially unchanged between 2010 and 2015. I assess this flattening over time in higher education wage premiums with reference to two related explanations for changing U.S. employment patterns: (i) a shift away from middle-skilled occupations driven largely by technological change (“polarization”); and (ii) a general weakening in the demand for advanced cognitive skills (“skill downgrading”). Analyses of wage and employment data from the U.S. Current Population Survey suggest that both factors have contributed to the flattening of higher education wage premiums.

download in pdf format
   (391 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22935

Forthcoming: Recent Flattening in the Higher Education Wage Premium: Polarization, Skill Downgrading, or Both?, Robert G. Valletta. in Education, Skills, and Technical Change: Implications for Future US GDP Growth, Hulten and Ramey. 2017

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Heckman The Common Structure of Statistical Models of Truncation, Sample Selection and Limited Dependent Variables and a Simple Estimator for Such Models
Valletta Recent Flattening in the Higher Education Wage Premium: Polarization, Skill Downgrading, or Both?
Daly, Hryshko, and Manovskii w22938 Improving the Measurement of Earnings Dynamics
Helpman w22944 Globalization and Wage Inequality
Garcia-Macia, Hsieh, and Klenow w22953 How Destructive is Innovation?
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

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

Contact Us