Factors narrowing interethnic occupational differences. How important is education?

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Droussiotis, Annabel
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Middle Tennessee State University
The purpose of this study is to determine which factors assist in narrowing interethnic occupational differences. Particular attention will be paid to the role of education. Two educational variables are examined: the educational level of minorities relative to the educational level of whites, and the overall educational level of the civilian labor force. Education is particularly important since it can be controlled and monitored by the government with more ease than other policy variables.
The data consist of a cross section of 183 U.S. Economic Areas. Independent and explanatory variables reflect certain characteristics of the Economic Areas. The explanatory variables can be categorized into five groups: educational level, human capital accumulation, social status, government action, and other general characteristics of an Economic Area. Occupational attributes are used to aggregate all occupations. Occupational attributes have been constructed in an effort to reflect prestige and satisfaction level of each occupation. This aggregation seems more suitable. The minority groups tested are African-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic-American, and all groups are compared to non-Hispanic whites. Males and females are tested separately. Ordinary least squares (OLS) is employed to describe the associations between independent and dependent variables. Based on t-statistics, restrictions are placed and insignificant variables are dropped from the final model. After correcting standard errors for heteroskedasticity, the coefficients are standardized for direct comparison of the influence of each explanatory variable.
The results of this study indicate that the educational level of minorities relative to the educational level of whites is the most significant and influential factor in narrowing interethnic occupational attributes. The overall educational level of the civilian labor force is of less importance.