This essay considers changes in various earnings ratios between 1991 and 1997. The female-to-male earnings ratio increased in every region primarily because of the wage growth of women in occupations that required some college education and the disproportional growth of women employed in those occupations. The earnings gap between those working in college-required and those working in no-college-required occupations grew among women but decreased among men. By 1997, this gap was greater among women than men in every region. The black-to-white earnings ratio among women fell primarily because of the faster wage growth of white rather than black women in the college-required occupations. It fell most in the Midwest where the entry of many less educated black women into the labor market depressed the average wage growth among black women in the no-college-required sector. These findings suggest that equal employment opportunity policies should be strengthened, especially in jobs that primarily hire less-educated workers.


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pp. 34-53
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