It has been remarked that, in the olden days, men with only a high school education earned more than women with a college education. That’s true, as I reported to Stephanie Coontz for today’s New York Times column. And the olden days ended about 20 years ago.
Until the early 1990s, men who were high school graduates – but not college graduates – earned more than women who were college graduates. And men who were high school dropouts earned more than women who were high school graduates.
Source: My analysis of March Current Population Survey data from IPUMS.
I don’t know what’s going on with the big 1992 drops. It could have to do with CPS survey design changes (I used last year’s earnings for people who worked 35+ hours last week and 50+ weeks last year).
You could describe these crossovers as a modernization of the labor force, with education rising in importance relative to gender. Or not.