Changes in the Characteristics of American Youth: Implications for Adult Outcomes

56 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2008 Last revised: 9 Jun 2021

See all articles by Joseph G. Altonji

Joseph G. Altonji

Yale University - Economic Growth Center; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Prashant Bharadwaj

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics

Fabian Lange

Yale University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2008

Abstract

We examine changes in the characteristics of American youth between the late 1970s and the late 1990s, with a focus on characteristics that matter for labor market success. We reweight the NLSY79 to look like the NLSY97 along a number of dimensions that are related to labor market success, including race, gender, parental background, education, test scores, and variables that capture whether individuals transition smoothly from school to work. We then use the re-weighted sample to examine how changes in the distribution of observable skills affect employment and wages. We also use more standard regression methods to assess the labor market consequences of differences between the two cohorts. Overall, we find that the current generation is more skilled than the previous one. Blacks and Hispanics have gained relative to whites and women have gained relative to men. However, skill differences within groups have increased considerably and in aggregate the skill distribution has widened. Changes in parental education seem to generate many of the observed changes

Suggested Citation

Altonji, Joseph G. and Bharadwaj, Prashant and Lange, Fabian, Changes in the Characteristics of American Youth: Implications for Adult Outcomes (March 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w13883, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1106609

Joseph G. Altonji (Contact Author)

Yale University - Economic Growth Center ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, CT 06520-8269
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Yale University - Cowles Foundation

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Prashant Bharadwaj

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics ( email )

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La Jolla, CA 92093-0508
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Fabian Lange

Yale University - Department of Economics ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8264
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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