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Increasing Income Inequality: Productivity, Bargaining and Skill-Upgrading

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  • Frederiksen, Anders

    ()
    (Aarhus University)

  • Poulsen, Odile

    ()
    (University of East Anglia)

Abstract

In recent decades most developed countries have experienced an increase in income inequality. In this paper, we use an equilibrium search framework to shed additional light on what is causing an income distribution to change. The major benefit of the model is that it can accommodate shocks to the skill composition in the market, employee bargaining power and productivity. Further, when our model is subjected to skill-upgrading and changes in employee bargaining power, it is capable of predicting the recent changes observed in the Danish income distribution. In addition, the model emphasizes that shocks to the employees’ relative productivity, i.e., skill-biased technological change, are unlikely to have caused the increase in income inequality.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4791.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4791

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Related research

Keywords: income inequality; two-sector search model; bargaining power; skill-biased technological change;

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  1. Nidardo, J. & Fortin, N. & Lemieux, T., 1994. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Papers 93-94-15, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  2. Gautier, Pieter A, 2002. "Unemployment and Search Externalities in a Model with Heterogeneous Jobs and Workers," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(273), pages 21-40, February.
  3. James Albrecht & Susan Vroman, 2000. "A Matching Model with Endogenous Skill Requirements," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0774, Econometric Society.
  4. Juan J. Dolado & Marcel Jansen & Juan F. Jimeno, . "On-the-Job Search in a Matching Model with Heterogenous Jobs and Workers," Working Papers 2003-21, FEDEA.
  5. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2005. "Rising Wage Inequality: The Role of Composition and Prices," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2096, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  6. Ann P. Bartel & Nachum Sicherman, 1997. "Technological Change and Wages: An Inter-Industry Analysis," NBER Working Papers 5941, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
  8. Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 7800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  10. Murphy, Kevin M & Welch, Finis, 1992. "The Structure of Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 285-326, February.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
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