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Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis

David Card and Thomas Lemieux

The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2001, vol. 116, issue 2, pages 705-746

Abstract: Although the college-high school wage gap for younger U. S. men has doubled over the past 30 years, the gap for older men has remained nearly constant. In the United Kingdom and Canada the college-high school wage gap also increased for younger relative to older men. Using a model with imperfect substitution between similarly educated workers in different age groups, we argue that these shifts reflect changes in the relative supply of highly educated workers across age groups. The driving force behind these changes is the slowdown in the rate of growth of educational attainment that began with cohorts born in the early 1950s in all three countries.

Date: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:116:y:2001:i:2:p:705-746.