Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Earnings inequality and the business cycle

Contents:

Author Info

  • Gadi Barlevy
  • Daniel Tsiddon

Abstract

Economists have long viewed recessions as contributing to increasing inequality. However, this conclusion is largely based on data from a period in which inequality was increasing over time. This paper examines the connection between long-run trends and cyclical variation in earnings inequality. We develop a model in which cyclical and trend inequality are related, and find that in our model, recessions tend to amplify long-run trends, i.e. they involve more rapidly increasing inequality more when long-run inequality is increasing, and more rapidly decreasing inequality when long-run inequality is decreasing. In support of this prediction, we present evidence that during the first half of the 20th Century when earnings inequality was generally declining, earnings disparities indeed appeared to fall more rapidly in downturns, at least among workers at the top of the earnings distribution.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.chicagofed.org/digital_assets/publications/working_papers/2004/wp2004_08.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-04-08.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-04-08

Contact details of provider:
Postal: P.O. Box 834, 230 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60690-0834
Phone: 312/322-5111
Fax: 312/322-5515
Email:
Web page: http://www.chicagofed.org/
More information through EDIRC

Order Information:
Email:
Web: http://www.chicagofed.org/webpages/publications/print_publication_order_form.cfm

Related research

Keywords: Business cycles ; Wages;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Harris Dellas & Plutarchos Sakellaris, 2003. "On the cyclicality of schooling: theory and evidence," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 148-172, January.
  2. Aghion, Philippe & Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1998. "VIRTUES OF BAD TIMES Interaction Between Productivity Growth and Economic Fluctuations," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(03), pages 322-344, September.
  3. Francesco Caselli, 1999. "Technological Revolutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 78-102, March.
  4. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris Telmer & Amir Yaron, . "Asset pricing with idiosyncratic risk and overlapping generations," GSIA Working Papers 226, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  5. Acemoglu, D. & Pischke, J.S., 1997. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," Working papers 97-24, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Solon, Gary & Barsky, Robert & Parker, Jonathan A, 1994. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important Is Composition Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-25, February.
  7. Simon Kuznets, 1950. "Shares of Upper Income Groups in Income and Savings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn50-1.
  8. Imrohoruglu, Ayse, 1989. "Cost of Business Cycles with Indivisibilities and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1364-83, December.
  9. Blinder, Alan S & Esaki, Howard Y, 1978. "Macroeconomic Activity and Income Distribution in the Postwar United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(4), pages 604-09, November.
  10. John Heaton & Deborah Lucas, 1993. "Evaluating the Effects of Incomplete Markets on Risk Sharing and Asset Pricing," NBER Working Papers 4249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Chris I. & Yaron, Amir, 2001. "The welfare cost of business cycles revisited: Finite lives and cyclical variation in idiosyncratic risk," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1311-1339.
  12. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1986. "The Equity Premium and the Concentration of Aggregate Shocks," NBER Working Papers 1788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Goldin, Claudia, 1998. "America's Graduation from High School: The Evolution and Spread of Secondary Schooling in the Twentieth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(02), pages 345-374, June.
  14. Horst Mendershausen, 1946. "Changes in Income Distribution During the Great Depression," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number mend46-1.
  15. John Haltiwanger & Russell Cooper, 1992. "The Aggregate Implications Of Machine Replacement: Theory And Evidence," Working Papers 92-12, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  16. Claudia Goldin & Robert A. Margo, 1991. "The Great Compression: The Wage Structure in the United States at Mid- Century," NBER Working Papers 3817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Galor, Oded & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1996. "Technological Progress, Mobility, and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1413, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. David M. Cutler & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "Macroeconomic Performance and the Disadvantaged," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 1-74.
  19. repec:cup:macdyn:v:2:y:1998:i:3:p:322-44 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Robert E. Hall, 1991. "Labor Demand, Labor Supply, and Employment Volatility," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1991, Volume 6, pages 17-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Tom Krebs, 2003. "Growth and Welfare Effects of Business Cycles in Economies with Idiosyncratic Human Capital Risk," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(4), pages 846-868, October.
  22. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
  23. Rebecca M. Blank & Alan S. Blinder, 1985. "Macroeconomics, Income Distribution, and Poverty," NBER Working Papers 1567, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Alexander J. Field, 2003. "The Most Technologically Progressive Decade of the Century," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1399-1413, September.
  25. Gary S. Becker, 1975. "Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, with Special Reference to Education, 2nd ed," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck75-1.
  26. Constantinides, George M & Duffie, Darrell, 1996. "Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 219-40, April.
  27. Rubinstein, Y. & Tsiddon, D., 1999. "Born to be Unemployed: Unemployment and Wages over the Business Cycle," Papers 39-99, Tel Aviv.
  28. Schmitz, Mark & Fishback, Price V., 1983. "The Distribution of the Income in the Great Depression: Preliminary State Estimates," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(01), pages 217-230, March.
  29. Julian R. Betts & Laurel L. McFarland, 1995. "Safe Port in a Storm: The Impact of Labor Market Conditions on Community College Enrollments," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(4), pages 741-765.
  30. Ben S. Bernanke & James L. Powell, 1984. "The Cyclical Behavior of Industrial Labor Markets: A Comparison of the Pre-War and Post-War Eras," NBER Working Papers 1376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Bernanke, Ben S, 1986. "Employment, Hours, and Earnings in the Depression: An Analysis of EightManufacturing Industries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 82-109, March.
  32. Ian W. McLean, 1988. "The Distributional Impact of the Depression in the United States," School of Economics Working Papers 1988-04, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Heathcote, Jonathan & Perri, Fabrizio & Violante, Giovanni L, 2009. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States, 1967-2006," CEPR Discussion Papers 7538, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Peng, Fei & Kang, Lili, 2013. "Cyclical changes in the wage structure of the United Kingdom: a historical review of the GHS 1972-2002," MPRA Paper 47210, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Edmond, Chris & Veldkamp, Laura, 2009. "Income dispersion and counter-cyclical markups," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 791-804, September.
  4. Bonhomme, Stephane & Hospido, Laura, 2012. "The Cycle of Earnings Inequality: Evidence from Spanish Social Security Data," IZA Discussion Papers 6669, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Tom Krebs, 2006. "Multi-Dimensional Risk and the Cost of Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(4), pages 640-658, October.
  6. Michael D. Bordo & Christopher M. Meissner, 2012. "Does Inequality Lead to a Financial Crisis?," NBER Working Papers 17896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Manthos, Delis & Iftekhar, Hasan & Pantelis, Kazakis, 2010. "Bank regulations and income inequality: Empirical evidence," MPRA Paper 27379, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. SAITO Yukiko & KOUNO Toshiaki, 2012. "Rising Wage Inequality Within Firms: Evidence from Japanese health insurance society data," Discussion papers 12039, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  9. Gadi Barlevy, 2004. "On the Timing of Innovation in Stochastic Schumpeterian Growth Models," NBER Working Papers 10741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-04-08. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bernie Flores).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.