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Dynastic Human Capital and Black-White Earnings Differentials in the United States, 1940–2000

Chad Turner, Robert Tamura (), Curtis Simon and Sean Mulholland

Journal of Human Capital, 2018, vol. 12, issue 2, 385 - 430

Abstract: We examine whether dynastic human capital (DHC) can explain the black-white wage gap. We fit a quantity-quality model to state-level data on fertility, mortality, and schooling but, notably, not earnings. Racial discrimination raised the cost of black schooling, thus depressing DHC not only of the current generation but of future generations via its role in producing human capital. Birth-state DHC helps explain the wage gap among stayers, while current-state DHC helps explain the gap among movers. These findings highlight the role of intergenerational transmission in the persistence of the wage gap and the role of migration in reducing it.

Date: 2018
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