Training and the Growth of Wage Inequality




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    • *The authors' affiliations are, respectively, Department of Economics, Williams College; and Department of Economics, Michigan State University, and the National Bureau of Economic Research. This research was supported by the Education Research and Development Center Program, agreement number R117Q00011–91, CFDA 84.317Q. as administered by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement. U.S. Department of Education. The findings and opinions expressed do not reflect the position or policies of the Office of Educational Research and Improvement or the U.S. Department of Education. We thank Gus Faucher for assistance with some of the CPS calculations, and Paul Swaim for helpful comments.


Shifts in the incidence of training over the 1980s favored more-educated, more-experienced workers. These shifts, coupled with increases in returns to skill, suggest that training may have contributed to the growth of between-group wage inequality in this period. However, because 1) the shifts in training were too small, and 2) the returns to training did not rise, only small fractions of the increases in returns to schooling and experience over this period can be explained by changes in the distribution of or returns to training.