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Long-run Inequality and Annual Instability of Men's and Women's Earnings in Canada

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  • Gray, David
  • Finnie, Ross
  • Beach, Charles M.

Abstract

This paper examines the variability of workers' earnings in Canada over the 1982-to-2000 period by a graphical descriptive approach using the Longitudinal Administrative Data base file. Following Gottschalk and Moffitt (1994), we decompose the total variance of workers' earnings into a 'permanent' or long-run component between workers and a 'transitory' or year-to-year earnings instability component over time for given workers. The decomposition is applied to a five-year moving window. Several results are found. First, the general rise in total earnings variance over the period reflects quite different patterns of change for its separate components. Long-run earnings inequality has generally increased over the period, while year-to-year earnings instability has pretty steadily decreased. Changes in the total earnings variability have been driven primarily by changes in long-run earnings inequality. Second, the patterns of change in the two variance components showed substantial differences between men and women. Since the early 1990s, long-run earnings inequality continued to rise for men, but it markedly decreased for women. Since the late 1980s, earnings instability fell quite steadily for women, but it showed a more cyclical pattern for men. Third, the patterns across ages of the two variance components are almost opposite. Long-run earnings inequality generally rises with age, so it is markedly highest among older-age workers. Earnings instability, in contrast, generally declines with age, so it is markedly highest among entry-age workers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch in its series Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series with number 2008311e.

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Date of creation: 18 Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:stc:stcp3e:2008311e

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Keywords: Labour; Wages; salaries and other earnings;

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References

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  1. David H. Richardson, 1997. "Changes in the Distribution of Wages in Canada, 1981-1992," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(3), pages 622-43, August.
  2. Gottschald, Peter T, 1982. "Earnings Mobility: Permanent Change or Transitory Fluctuations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(3), pages 450-56, August.
  3. Baker, Michael, 1997. "Growth-Rate Heterogeneity and the Covariance Structure of Life-Cycle Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 338-75, April.
  4. Robert A. Moffitt & Peter Gottschalk, 2002. "Trends in the Transitory Variance of Earnings in the United States," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C68-C73, March.
  5. 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.
  6. Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
  7. Gray, David & Finnie, Ross & Beach, Charles M., 2006. "The Impact of Macroeconomic Conditions on the Instability and Long-Run Inequality of Workers' Earnings in Canada," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch 2006268e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
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Cited by:
  1. Robert Moffitt & Peter Gottschalk, 2008. "Trends in the Transitory Variance of Male Earnings in the U.S., 1970-2004," Boston College Working Papers in Economics, Boston College Department of Economics 697, Boston College Department of Economics.
  2. Sisi Zhang, 2010. "Recent Trends in Household Income Dynamics for the United States, Germany and Great Britain," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 30(2), pages 1154-1172.
  3. El Benni, Nadja & Finger, Robert & Mann, Stefan, 2012. "The effect of agricultural policy change on income risk in Swiss agriculture," 123rd Seminar, February 23-24, 2012, Dublin, Ireland, European Association of Agricultural Economists 122532, European Association of Agricultural Economists.

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