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Real Wage Inequality

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  • Enrico Moretti

Abstract

While nominal wage differences between skilled and unskilled workers have increased since 1980, college graduates have experienced larger increases in cost of living because they have increasingly concentrated in cities with high cost of housing. Using a city-specific CPI, I find that real wage differences between college and high school graduates have grown significantly less than nominal differences. Changes in the geographical location of different skill groups are to a significant degree driven by city-specific shifts in relative demand. I conclude that the increase in utility differences between skilled and unskilled workers since 1980 is smaller than previously thought based on nominal wage differences. (JEL J22, J23, J24, J31, R23, R31)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 65-103

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:5:y:2013:i:1:p:65-103

Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.5.1.65
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References

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  1. Enrico Moretti, 2002. "Estimating the Social Return to Higher Education: Evidence From Longitudinal and Repeated Cross-Sectional Data," NBER Working Papers 9108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Michael Greenstone & Richard Hornbeck & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "Identifying Agglomeration Spillovers: Evidence from Million Dollar Plants," Working Paper Series 36-08, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, revised Jan 2008.
  7. Bound, John & Johnson, George, 1992. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the 1980's: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 371-92, June.
  8. Joseph Gyourko & Christopher Mayer & Todd Sinai, 2013. "Superstar Cities," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 167-99, November.
  9. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2000. "Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," NBER Working Papers 7655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Increasing Residual Wage Inequality: Composition Effects, Noisy Data, or Rising Demand for Skill?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 461-498, June.
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  13. Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Post-Secondary Education and Increasing Wage Inequality," NBER Working Papers 12077, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  17. James Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explanations With A Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings With Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 1-58, January.
  18. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2005. "Urban Decline and Durable Housing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 345-375, April.
  19. Dew-Becker, Ian & Gordon, Robert J, 2008. "Controversies about the Rise in American Inequality: A Survey," CEPR Discussion Papers 6817, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Cited by:
  1. Edward L. Glaeser & Joshua D. Gottlieb, 2009. "The Wealth of Cities: Agglomeration Economies and Spatial Equilibrium in the United States," NBER Working Papers 14806, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Veronica Guerrieri & Daniel Hartley & Erik Hurst, 2012. "Within-city variation in urban decline: the case of Detroit," Working Paper 1205, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  3. Shihe Fu & Stephen Ross, 2010. "Wage Premia in Employment Clusters: How Important is Worker Heterogeneity?," Working Papers 2011-027, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  4. Suzanne Kok & Bas ter Weel, 2014. "Cities, Tasks and Skills," CPB Discussion Paper 269, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  5. Beaudry, Paul & Green, David A. & Sand, Benjamin M., 2014. "Spatial equilibrium with unemployment and wage bargaining: Theory and estimation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 2-19.
  6. Thomas Kemeny, 2013. "Immigrant Diversity and Economic Development in Cities: A Critical Review," SERC Discussion Papers 0149, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  7. repec:wyi:journl:002155 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Kok, Suzanne & ter Weel, Bas, 2014. "Cities, Tasks and Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 8053, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Kristen Monaco & Steffen Habermalz, 2011. "Wage Inequality of US Truck Drivers," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 25(2), pages 268-285, 06.
  10. Leonardi, Marco, 2010. "The Effect of Product Demand on Inequality: Evidence from the US and the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 5011, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Robert J. Gordon, 2009. "Misperceptions About the Magnitude and Timing of Changes in American Income Inequality," NBER Working Papers 15351, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Beach, Charles M., 2014. "What Has Happened to Middle-Class Earnings? Distributional Shifts in Earnings in Canada, 1970-2005," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2014-13, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 26 Mar 2014.
  13. Andrea Brandolini & Alfonso Rosolia & Roberto Torrini, 2011. "The distribution of employees’ labour earnings in the European Union: Data, concepts and first results," Working Papers 198, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  14. Cinzia, Rienzo, 2010. "Real Wages, Wage Inequality and the Regional Cost-of-living in the UK," MPRA Paper 36390, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Oct 2010.
  15. Lindley, Joanne & Machin, Stephen, 2014. "Spatial changes in labour market inequality," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 121-138.
  16. Lindley, Joanne & Machin, Stephen, 2013. "Spatial Changes in Labour Market Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 7600, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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