Changes in Wage Inequality, 1970-1990
AbstractDifferences in wages between skill groups declined in the 1970's and rose in the 1980's, but aggregate wage inequality grew throughout the period. This divergence remains a puzzle in recent studies of U.S. wage inequality. In this paper the sometimes divergent paths of inter-group and intra-group inequality are explained by the human capital approach. In it, wages are the return on cumulated human capital investments. In turn, interpersonal distributions of investments and of marginal rates of return on them are determined by individual supply and demand curves. Recent studies have shown that relative growth of human capital supply in the 1970's and of demand in the 1980's generated the U-shaped time pattern of ( differentials. Argument and evidence in this paper show that a widening of dispersion among individual demand curves started in the 1970's and generated a continuous expansion of ( group demand curves reflects a growing skill bias in the demand for labor. Aggregate inequality grew throughout the period because within group inequality accounts for the larger part of total inequality. The data also indicate that wage inequality grew in the face of stability in the dispersion of human capital and despite the likely decline in inequality of opportunity, as reflected in the decline in dispersion among supply curves.
Download InfoIf 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.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5823.
Date of creation: Nov 1996
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Murnane, Richard J & Willett, John B & Levy, Frank, 1995.
"The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 251-66, May.
- Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & Frank Levy, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," NBER Working Papers 5076, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Jacob Mincer, 1994. "Investment in U.S. Education and Training," NBER Working Papers 4844, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Angel de la Fuente, 2003.
"Human capital in a global and knowledge-based economy,"
UFAE and IAE Working Papers
576.03, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
- Angel de la Fuente & Antonio Ciccone, 2003. "Human capital in a global and knowledge-based economy," Working Papers 70, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
- Angel de la Fuente & Antonio Ciccone, 2003. "Human capital in a global and knowledge-based economy," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 562.03, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
- Rulof P Burger & Francis J Teal, 2013.
"Measuring the option value of education,"
15/2013, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
- Rulof P. Burger & Francis J. Teal, 2013. "Measuring the option value of education," CSAE Working Paper Series 2013/13, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
- Daniele Checchi, 2001. "Education, Inequality and Income Inequality," STICERD - Distributional Analysis Research Programme Papers 52, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.