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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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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.11.2.55
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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. David Card, 1990. "The impact of the Mariel boatlift on the Miami labor market," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(2), pages 245-257, January.
  2. Chinhui Juhn & Dae Il Kim, 1995. "The Effects of Rising Female Labor Supply on Male Wages," NBER Working Papers 5236, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Finis Welch, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," UCLA Economics Working Papers 146, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 1994. "International Differences in Male Wage Inequality: Institutions versus Market Forces," NBER Working Papers 4678, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Lawrence F. Katz & Gary W. Loveman & David G. Blanchflower, 1995. "A Comparison of Changes in the Structure of Wages in Four OECD Countries," NBER Chapters, in: Differences and Changes in Wage Structures, pages 25-66 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Per-Anders Edin & Bertl Holmlund, 1993. "The Swedish Wage Stucture: The Rise and Fall of Solidarity Wage Policy?," NBER Working Papers 4257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Steven J. Davis, 1992. "Cross-Country Patterns of Change in Relative Wages," NBER Working Papers 4085, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
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