Existe una amplísima literatura sobre la brecha salarial entre “blancos y
negros” en los EU que informa el debate de los “civil rights” y demás. Este
paper de Heckman (premio nobel, por cierto) y compañía ilumina el origen de
tales brechas usando a los hispanos como grupo de comparación.
Los hispanos también ganan menos que los blancos… pero, hay
una sorpresa: hispanos con similares niveles de pobreza y educación que
negros, acaban ganando más que éstos, inclusive cuando aquellos no terminan
college… Es decir que el impacto marginal de cada año de educación es
mayor para los los hispanos que para los negros… ¿Por qué?
Aparentemente, por cosas que pasan en su infancia…
La conclusión es clara: si te preocupan estas brechas salariales
cuasi-discriminatorias, hay que atender mejor la educación preescolar y
hacer menos marchas de affirmative action.
Más detalles abajo:
Labor Market Discrimination and Racial Differences in Premarket Factors
University College London
JAMES J. HECKMAN,
University of Chicago
DIMITRIY V. MASTEROV
University of Chicago
This paper discusses the sources of wage gaps between minorities and
whites. For all minorities but black males, adjusting for the ability that
minorities bring to the market eliminates wage gaps. The major source of
economic disparity by race and ethnicity in U.S. labor markets is in
endowments, not in payments to endowments.
This evidence suggests that strengthened civil rights and affirmative action
policies targeted at the labor market are unlikely to have much effect on
racial and ethnic wage gaps, except possibly for those specifically targeted
toward black males. Policies that foster endowments have much greater
On the other hand, this paper does not provide any empirical evidence
on whether the existing edifice of civil rights and affirmative action
legislation should be abolished. All of our evidence on wages is for an
environment in which affirmative action laws and regulations are in place.
Minority deficits in cognitive and noncognitive skills emerge early and
then widen. Unequal schooling, neighborhoods, and peers may account for
this differential growth in skills, but the main story in the data is not
about growth rates but rather about the size of early deficits. Hispanic children
start with cognitive and noncognitive deficits similar to those of black children.
They also grow up in similarly disadvantaged environments and are likely
to attend schools of similar quality. Hispanics complete much less schooling
than blacks. Nevertheless, the ability growth by years of schooling is much
higher for Hispanics than for blacks. By the time they reach adulthood,
Hispanics have significantly higher test scores than do blacks. Conditional
on test scores, there is no evidence of an important Hispanic-white wage
gap. Our analysis of the Hispanic data illuminates the traditional study of
black-white differences and casts doubt on many conventional explanations
of these differences since they do not apply to Hispanics, who also suffer
from many of the same disadvantages. The failure of the Hispanic-white gap
to widen with schooling or age casts doubt on the claim that poor schools
and bad neighborhoods are the reasons for the slow growth rate of black test
scores. Deficits in noncognitive skills can be explained (in a statistical
sense) by adverse early environments; deficits in cognitive skills are less easily
eliminated by the same factors.
Effective social policy designed to eliminate racial and ethnic inequality
for most minorities should focus on eliminating skill gaps, not on
discrimination in the workplace of the early twenty-first century. Interventions targeted
at adults are much less effective and do not compensate for early
deficits. Early interventions aimed at young children hold much greater
promise than strengthened legal activism in the workplace.