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The Effects of Attitudes and Aspirations on the Labor Supply of Young Men

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The Effects of Attitudes and Aspirations on the Labor Supply of Young Men This PDF is a selection from an out-of-print volume from the National Bureau of Economic Research Volume Title: The Black Youth Employment Crisis Volume Author/Editor: Richard B. Freeman and Harry J. Holzer, editors Volume Publisher: University of Chicago Press Volume ISBN: 0-226-26164-6 Volume URL: http://www.nber.org/books/free86-1 Publication Date: 1986 Chapter Title: The Effects of Attitudes and Aspirations on the Labor Supply of Young Men Chapter Author: Linda Datcher-Loury, Glenn Loury Chapter URL: http://www.nber.org/chapters/c6291 Chapter pages in book: (p. 377 - 401) 10 The Effects of Attitudes and Aspirations on the Labor Supply of Young Men Linda Datcher-Loury and Glenn Loury 10.1 Introduction Any discussion of the causes of earnings inequality inevitably raises the question of the extent to which earnings differences reflect differ- ences in the opportunities available to individuals versus differences in the behavior of individuals faced with similar opportunities. On one hand, conservatives invariably call attention to the fact that different people with the same objective opportunities will not generally choose to act in such a way that their earnings are equal. Liberals, on the other hand, tend to stress the importance of divergent opportunities as an explanation of earnings disparities. Liberals further argue that since values, attitudes, and beliefs may themselves partially reflect an indi- vidual’s previous labor market experiences (namely, past opportuni- ties), their contemporaneous correlation with individual earnings is not sufficient evidence to establish the direction of the causality implicitly assumed by the conservative argument. This divergence of views about the importance of subjective versus objective factors in individual earnings determination takes on partic- ular significance in the discussion of racial economic inequality. The pra

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