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Report · September 2000

The Changing Role of Education in the California Labor Market

Julian Betts

It has been well-documented that the economic returns to education-that is, the wage gains associated with additional schooling-have risen dramatically in the United States since the late 1970s. In this study, the author examines the extent to which trends in California reflect those of the nation. This report examines:

  • Changes in the educational composition of California’s workforce between 1970 and 1997 and how these changes compare with those in the rest of the nation.
  • The extent to which California’s postsecondary education sector met the demand for skilled workers between 1970 and 1990.
  • The overall trend in the wage premium earned by college graduates, as well as the trends for high school graduates and those with less than 12 years of schooling.
  • How these trends varied across industrial and regional sectors in California and between native Californians, natives from elsewhere, and immigrants.


Economy Higher Education K–12 Education Population Workforce and Training