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Interpreting Aggregate Wage Growth: The Role of Labor Market Participation

Author

Listed:
  • Richard Blundell
  • Howard Reed
  • Thomas M. Stoker

Abstract

A new and easily implementable framework for the empirical analysis of the relationship between aggregate and individual wages is developed. Aggregate real wages are shown to contain three important bias terms: one associated with the dispersion of individual wages, a second deriving from compositional changes in the (selected) sample of workers, and a third reflecting the distribution of working hours. Their importance for interpreting the path of aggregate wages and of the returns to education for recent experience in Britain is highlighted. A close correspondence between the estimated biases and the patterns of differences shown by aggregate wages is established. (JEL C34, E24, J31)

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Blundell & Howard Reed & Thomas M. Stoker, 2003. "Interpreting Aggregate Wage Growth: The Role of Labor Market Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1114-1131, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:93:y:2003:i:4:p:1114-1131 Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282803769206223
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Shadow Prices, Market Wages, and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(4), pages 679-694, July.
    2. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2001. "Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 705-746.
    3. Robinson, Peter M, 1988. "Root- N-Consistent Semiparametric Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 931-954, July.
    4. Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1994. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-25.
    5. Cogan, John F, 1981. "Fixed Costs and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 945-963, June.
    6. Amanda Gosling & Stephen Machin & Costas Meghir, 2000. "The Changing Distribution of Male Wages in the U.K," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(4), pages 635-666.
    7. Newey, Whitney K & Powell, James L & Walker, James R, 1990. "Semiparametric Estimation of Selection Models: Some Empirical Results," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 324-328.
    8. A. D. Roy, 1951. "Some Thoughts On The Distribution Of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 135-146.
    9. Ahn, Hyungtaik & Powell, James L., 1993. "Semiparametric estimation of censored selection models with a nonparametric selection mechanism," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 3-29, July.
    10. Bils, Mark J, 1985. "Real Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 666-689, August.
    11. Heckman, James J & Sedlacek, Guilherme, 1985. "Heterogeneity, Aggregation, and Market Wage Functions: An Empirical Model of Self-selection in the Labor Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1077-1125, December.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C34 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Truncated and Censored Models; Switching Regression Models
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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