The college wage premium cannot explain growing wage inequality since 2000: Average annual percentage-point changes in wage gaps, 1979–2000 and 2000–2019

Log 95/50 ratio College wage premium
1979–2000 0.76 1.00
2000–2019 1.00 0.13

Notes: The college wage premium is the percent by which hourly wages of four-year college graduates exceed those of otherwise-equivalent high school graduates. This regression-based gap is based on average wages and controls for gender, race and ethnicity, education, age, and geographic division; the log of the hourly wage is the dependent variable. The 95/50 wage ratio is a representation of the level of inequality within the hourly wage distribution. It is logged for comparability with the college wage premium.

Source: Author’s analysis of EPI Current Population Survey Extracts, Version 1.0 (2020),

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