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The dynamics of individual male earnings in Great Britain: 1991-1999

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  • Ramos, Xavier

Abstract

In this paper I analyse the dynamic structure of earnings in Great Britain for the period 1991-1999 by decomposing the earnings covariance structure into its permanent and transitory components. Using information on monthly earnings of male full-time employees from the first nine waves of the British Household Panel Study I find that earnings inequality increases over the Nineties. However, earnings mobility may have also increased. That is, for this period earnings persistence falls. Surprisingly, I also find that relative earnings persistence declines over the life cycle, which implies lower mobility for younger cohorts. This evidence is at odds with previous literature on earnings dynamics both for Britain and other OECD countries. Unlike recent studies, I also consider the effects of observed characteristics on the covariance structure of log earnings and find that human capital and job related characteristics account for nearly all persistent earnings differences and that the transitory component is highly persistent.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series ISER Working Paper Series with number 2001-15.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2001
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Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2001-15

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Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK
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  1. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-45, March.
  2. Patricia Tracy Jones & Stephen Nickell & Glenda Quintini, 2000. "A Picture of Job Insecurity Facing British Men," CEP Discussion Papers dp0479, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Gregg, Paul & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 2000. "Mind the Gap, Please: The Changing Nature of Entry Jobs in Britain," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 67(268), pages 499-524, November.
  4. Baker, Michael, 1997. "Growth-Rate Heterogeneity and the Covariance Structure of Life-Cycle Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 338-75, April.
  5. Farber, Henry S & Gibbons, Robert, 1996. "Learning and Wage Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1007-47, November.
  6. Altonji, Joseph G & Segal, Lewis M, 1996. "Small-Sample Bias in GMM Estimation of Covariance Structures," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(3), pages 353-66, July.
  7. Lee A. Lillard & Robert J. Willis, 1976. "Dynamic Aspects of Earnings Mobility," NBER Working Papers 0150, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Anderson, T. W. & Hsiao, Cheng, 1982. "Formulation and estimation of dynamic models using panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 47-82, January.
  9. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
  10. Lorenzo Cappellari, 2002. "The dynamics and inequality of Italian male earnings: permanent changes or transitory fluctuations?," 10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002 C2-2, International Conferences on Panel Data.
  11. Hause, John C, 1980. "The Fine Structure of Earnings and the On-the-Job Training Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 1013-29, May.
  12. Simon Burgess & Julia Lane & David Stevens, 2001. "Jobs, Workers and Changes in Earnings Dispersion," CEP Discussion Papers dp0491, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  13. Stewart, Mark B & Swaffield, Joanna K, 1999. "Low Pay Dynamics and Transition Probabilities," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(261), pages 23-42, February.
  14. repec:ese:iserwp:2000-13 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Stevens, Ann Huff, 1997. "Persistent Effects of Job Displacement: The Importance of Multiple Job Losses," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 165-88, January.
  16. John C. Hause, 1977. "The Covariance Structure of Earnings and the On-The-Job Training Hypothesis," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 6, number 4, pages 335-365 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Heshmati, Almas, 2004. "A Review of Decomposition of Income Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 1221, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Martin Biewen, 2002. "The Covariance Structure of East and West German Incomes and its Implications for the Persistence of Poverty and Inequality," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 292, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

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