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Financial Development And Wage Inequality: Theory And Evidence


We argue that financial market development contributed to the rise in the skill premium and residual wage inequality in the US since the 1980s. We present an endogenous growth model with imperfect credit markets and establish how improving the efficiency of these markets affects modes of production, innovation and wage dispersion between skilled and unskilled workers. The experience of US states following banking deregulation provides empirical support for our hypothesis. We find that wages of college educated workers increased by between 0.5 - 1.2% following deregulation while those of workers with a high school diploma fell by about 2.2%. Similarly, residual (or within-group) inequality increased. The 90-50 percentile ratio of residuals from a Mincerian wage regression and their standard deviation increased by 4.5% and 1.8%, respectively.

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Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 51 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (01)
Pages: 211-234

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:51:y:2013:i:1:p:211-234
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  1. Stephen Machin & John Van Reenen, 1998. "Technology and Changes in Skill Structure: Evidence from Seven OECD Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1215-1244.
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  17. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1998. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1169-1213.
  18. Karen E. Dynan & Douglas W. Elmendorf & Daniel E. Sichel, 2005. "Can financial innovation help to explain the reduced volatility of economic activity?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-54, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  19. Janet L. Yellen, 2006. "Economic inequality in the United States," Speech 28, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  20. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 1998. "Ability Biased Technological Transition, Wage Inequality, and Economic Growth," Working Papers 98-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.
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