Wage and prestige returns for mexican american workers based on education
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The thesis compares education attainment levels and the returns of education investments of three native-born ethnic groups, Mexican Americans, non-Hispanic whites, and African Americans. Using two ordinary least square (OLS) regression models and data from the 2000 5% Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS), the analysis determines if lower levels of earnings and occupation prestige status among native-born Mexican Americans are the result of low levels of education or are attributed to lower returns on their education. The first model compares income earned across the ethnic groups while the second model compares occupational prestige status across the three groups. The study shows that Mexican Americans continue to have the highest levels of high school dropouts and as a whole continue to lag behind whites in education attainment especially among the higher levels of education beginning at the college degree level. However, the results from the multiple linear regression analyses provide a positive outlook for Mexican Americans who attain higher levels of education receiving comparable or greater returns on their human capital investments. First, the results suggest that any additional year(s) of education attainment above a high school diploma provides greater returns for Mexican Americans given the anemic state of higher education levels for this ethnic group. Second, attaining a college degree has the greatest effect on labor market outcomes. Finally, the results do provide empirical evidence of structural discrimination especially in the case of African Americans with respect to income earned. In addition, at the professional degree attainment level whites receive greater returns in income despite having the same level of education and occupation prestige status when compared to Mexican Americans and African Americans.
Obregon, Misael (2007). Wage and prestige returns for mexican american workers based on education. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from