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Changes in Employment and Hours, and Family Income Inequality in the United.States, 1969--1989

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  • Lee Chulhee

Abstract

This paper estimates how much changes in employment and hours worked for family heads and spouses contributed to the rise in the family income inequality between 1969 and 1989. Change in labor market activity of family heads accounts for half of the increase in the income gap between the top and bottom 10th families. The effect of change in work effort on the income inequality is considerably weaker where four-fifths of families in the middle of income distribution are considered. This result is robust to changes in the selection of the population. The rise in the inequality of labor market activity occurred largely within families headed by prime-age men. The rise in the percentage of families headed by female and the decline in employment rate for older family heads are relatively minor factors. [J2, E2, N3]

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal International Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 15 (2001)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 27-49

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Handle: RePEc:taf:intecj:v:15:y:2001:i:2:p:27-49

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  1. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M, 1997. "Wage Inequality and Family Labor Supply," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 72-97, January.
  2. Burtless, Gary, 1993. "The Contribution of Employment and Hours Changes to Family Income Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 131-35, May.
  3. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-81, September.
  4. Kenneth A. Swinnerton & Howard Wial, 1995. "Is job stability declining in the U.S. economy?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(2), pages 293-304, January.
  5. Juhn, Chinhui, 1992. "Decline of Male Labor Market Participation: The Role of Declining Market Opportunities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 79-121, February.
  6. Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1994. "The Growth of Earnings Instability in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 217-272.
  7. Chinhui Juhn & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert H. Topel, 1991. "Why Has the Natural Rate of Unemployment Increased over Time?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 75-142.
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