Labor Market Structure and Wage Differences in New York City

A Comparative Analysis of Hispanics and Non-Hispanic Blacks and Whites
  • Edwin Melendez
Part of the Environment, Development and Public Policy book series (EDPP)


The question of the differences between the average wages received by Hispanic workers and average wages received by their white counterparts has received extensive attention during the last decade.1 Previous studies have found that differences in human capital, immigrants’ ability to adapt to new labor markets, and discrimination are important factors in explaining low wages for Hispanics. In contrast to findings regarding black men’s earnings, differences in measurable characteristics, particularly in education, explain the largest proportion of wage differences for Hispanics. On this account, a lower proportion of the wage gap is attributable to discrimination. Such findings, however, are based on the assumption of a competitive labor market in which there are no barriers to worker mobility and in which market forces therefore tend to eliminate wage or employment differences as Hispanic workers adapt to their new working environment. To the extent that labor markets are noncompetitive and workers’ attributes contribute to the support of industrial dualism and segmentation, however, there could be a premium attached to labor-market location, that is, to the sector or segment of the labor market in which a particular worker is employed. Despite the growing research measuring the effects of human capital and immigrant background, very few studies have measured the relative effect of labor-market location on earnings for Hispanics.


Labor Market Affirmative Action Hispanic Woman Hourly Wage Labor Market Location 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edwin Melendez
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Urban Studies and PlanningMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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