Intracohort Trends in Ethnic Earnings Gaps: The Role of Education

Meir Yaish, Limor Gabay-Egozi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study demonstrates that studying ethnic/racial inequality on the basis of cross-sectional data conceals how such inequality might unfold over the life course. Moving beyond a snapshot perspective, we ask, Do Israel’s Jewish ethnic groups differ in their long-term earnings trajectories? Analyzing nearly 20 years of registered earnings data, the authors find that for the same cohort (25-to 32-year-old Jews in 1995), the ethnic earnings gap has widened over these years. This trend, we demonstrate, is explained largely by increasing wage premiums for college degree, even when these premiums are ethnicity blind. That is, ethnic inequality in educational attainment is translated to increasing ethnic earnings inequality over the life course. This pattern cannot be detected in previous research in Israel, which relied on the snapshot perspective on the basis of cross-sectional data. The consequences of these findings for changes in inequality in divided societies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2378023119845740
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by a grant from the Israel Science Foundation (575/14) to the first author.

Publisher Copyright:
© SAGE Publications Inc.. All rights reserved.


  • Israeli society
  • earnings trajectories
  • ethnic earnings gaps
  • returns to education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (all)


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