Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

David Bjerk

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© 2015 Tianxiao Ye


This paper updates the current knowledge about Black-White wage inequality in the US male labor market by using the NLSY97 sample. Compared with the results obtained from the NLSY79 cohort, I find that the unconditional racial wage inequality is smaller today, but after controlling for premarket academic skills, the conditional racial wage gap remains roughly the same as it was twenty years ago. After dividing the labor market by occupational categories, I find that in the white collar sector, the racial wage gap has largely disappeared even without controlling for academic skills. In the blue collar sector, academic skills can fully account for the unconditional racial wage gap among clerical jobs but there still remains a substantial conditional racial wage gap among craftsman and laborer jobs. I show that clerical jobs are more similar to white collar jobs than blue collar jobs today. The racial wage inequality also has disappeared among the operative workers, probably due to omitted variable bias. For the remaining racial wage gap in the craftsman and laborer jobs, both preference-based and statistical models of discrimination are consistent with the findings.