ERIC Number: ED490866
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jan
Why Has Black-White Skill Convergence Stopped? NBER Working Paper No. 11090
National Bureau of Economic Research
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.
Descriptors: Public Policy, African Americans, Whites, Racial Discrimination, Academic Achievement, Young Adults, African American Family, Educational Attainment, Racial Differences, Scores, Equal Opportunities (Jobs), Family Income, Family Structure, Job Skills, Skilled Workers
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138-5398. Tel: 617-588-0343; Web site: http://www.nber.org.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA.