Labor Force Attachment and the Evolving Wage Gap between White, Black and Hispanic Young Women

Sigal Alon, Tel Aviv University
Yitchak Haberfeld, Tel Aviv University

We analyze the role of labor force attachment in shaping the diverging wage trajectories of white, black and Hispanic women during their first post-schooling decade. We take advantage of the longitudinal aspects of the NLSY Work History data by constructing detailed annual and cumulative measures of labor force attachment and use them to examine women’s wage profiles. Results show that the race/ethnic wage gap in starting wages widens over time. Minority women are less likely than whites to participate in the labor force every year and tend to work for a smaller fraction of time. These differences in labor force attachment, opened upon career launching, are detrimental for future earnings gaps between white and minority women.

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Presented in Session 137: Race, Ethnicity, Human Capital, and the Labor Market