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Factor Proportions and Relative Wages: The Supply-Side Determinants of Wage Inequality

  • Robert H. Topel

Supply-side factors may contribute to rising wage inequality. First, certain changes in the supply of skills allegedly exacerbate wage inequality. Women's increased labor force participation and increased immigration are the leading candidates; both allegedly reduce the wages of less-skilled men. However, immigration's impact on wage inequality has been minor and the effects of women's participation is inconclusive. Second, in evaluating the likelihood that human capital investment will mitigate future inequality, evidence suggests that rising returns to education have increased the proportion of young people attending college, limiting the growth of inequality among high-wage workers.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 11 (1997)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Pages: 55-74

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:11:y:1997:i:2:p:55-74
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.11.2.55
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  1. Per-Anders Edin & Bertil Holmlund, 1995. "The Swedish Wage Structure: The Rise and Fall of Solidarity Wage Policy?," NBER Chapters, in: Differences and Changes in Wage Structures, pages 307-344 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Topel, Robert H, 1994. "Regional Labor Markets and the Determinants of Wage Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 17-22, May.
  3. Robert J. LaLonde & Robert H. Topel, 1989. "Labor Market Adjustments to Increased Immigration," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 55, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  4. David Card, 1989. "The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 3069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Finis Welch, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," UCLA Economics Working Papers 146, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Steven J. Davis, 1992. "Cross-Country Patterns of Change in Relative Wages," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1992, Volume 7, pages 239-300 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. David Blanchflower & L Katz & G Loveman, 1993. "A Comparison of Changes in the Structure of Wages in Four OECD Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0144, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence M, 1996. "International Differences in Male Wage Inequality: Institutions versus Market Forces," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 791-836, August.
  9. Juhn, Chinhui & Kim, Dae Il, 1999. "The Effects of Rising Female Labor Supply on Male Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 23-48, January.
  10. Per-Anders Edin & Robert Topel, 1997. "Wage Policy and Restructuring: The Swedish Labor Market since 1960," NBER Chapters, in: The Welfare State in Transition: Reforming the Swedish Model, pages 155-202 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Lawrence F. Katz & Gary W. Loveman & David G. Blanchflower, 1993. "A Comparison of Changes in the Structure of Wages," NBER Working Papers 4297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Welch, Finis, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S65-97, October.
  13. Berger, Mark C, 1985. "The Effect of Cohort Size on Earnings Growth: A Reexamination of the Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 561-73, June.
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