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Inequality, Income Growth, and Mobility: The Basic Facts

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  • Peter Gottschalk

Abstract

This essay brings together the factual material on changes in the distribution of labor market income that any of the theories addressed in the other papers in this symposium must address. The broad stylized facts are that the rapid growth and stable level of inequality of both total family income and individual labor market that marked the postwar period came to an end during the 1970s. Real mean earnings grew very little but inequality of earnings rose substantially. This reflected increases both in inequality between education and experience groups and within groups. Mobility showed little change over this period.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Gottschalk, 1997. "Inequality, Income Growth, and Mobility: The Basic Facts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 21-40, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:11:y:1997:i:2:p:21-40
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.11.2.21
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.11.2.21
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Moshe Buchinsky & Jennifer Hunt, 1999. "Wage Mobility In The United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 351-368, August.
    2. Claudia Goldin & Robert A. Margo, 1992. "The Great Compression: The Wage Structure in the United States at Mid-Century," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 1-34.
    3. repec:hrv:faseco:30703979 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Matthew D. Shapiro & David W. Wilcox, 1996. "Mismeasurement in the Consumer Price Index: An Evaluation," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11, pages 93-154 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
    6. 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 251-266, May.
    7. 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 1333-1381, September.
    8. 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.
    9. Barry Bosworth & George L. Perry, 1994. "Productivity and Real Wages: Is There a Puzzle?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 317-343.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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