IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Decomposing the Sources of Earnings Inequality: Assessing the Role of Reallocation

  • Fredrik Andersson
  • Elizabeth E. Davis
  • Matthew L. Freedman
  • Julia I. Lane
  • Brian P. Mccall
  • Kristin Sandusky

This paper uses matched employer-employee data from the U.S. Census Bureau to investigate the contribution of worker and firm reallocation to changes in wage inequality within and across industries between 1992 and 2003. We find that the entry and exit of firms and the sorting of workers and firms based on underlying worker skills are important sources of changes in earnings distributions over time. Our results suggest that the underlying dynamics driving changes in earnings inequality are complex and are due to factors that cannot be measured in standard cross-sectional data.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society.

Volume (Year): 51 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 779-810

in new window

Handle: RePEc:bla:indres:v:51:y:2012:i:4:p:779-810
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Barry T. Hirsch & Edward J. Schumacher, 2004. "Match Bias in Wage Gap Estimates Due to Earnings Imputation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 689-722, July.
  2. John Abowd & John Haltiwanger & Julia Lane, 2009. "Wage Structure and Labor Mobility in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: The Structure of Wages: An International Comparison, pages 81-100 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 2000. "Understanding Increasing and Decreasing Wage Inequality," NBER Chapters, in: The Impact of International Trade on Wages, pages 227-268 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill-Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 733-783, October.
  5. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2008. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 394-425, March.
  6. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1994. "High-Wage Workers and High-Wage Firms," CIRANO Working Papers 94s-23, CIRANO.
  7. Nicole Fortin & Thomas Lemieux & Sergio Firpo, 2010. "Decomposition Methods in Economics," NBER Working Papers 16045, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Katharine G. Abraham & James R. Spletzer & Michael Harper, 2010. "Labor in the New Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abra08-1, July.
  9. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1993. "Small Business and Job Creation: Dissecting the Myth and Reassessing theFacts," NBER Working Papers 4492, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Spletzer, James R, 2000. "The Contribution of Establishment Births and Deaths to Employment Growth," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 18(1), pages 113-26, January.
  11. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
  12. John M. Abowd & Paul A. Lengermann & Kevin L. McKinney, 2002. "The Measurement of Human Capital in the U.S. Economy," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-09, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised Mar 2003.
  13. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & Sébastien Pérez-Duarte & Ian Schmutte, 2009. "A Formal Test of Assortative Matching in the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 15546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2005. "Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Re-Assessing the Revisionists," NBER Working Papers 11627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Griliches, Zvi & Regev, Haim, 1995. "Firm productivity in Israeli industry 1979-1988," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 175-203, January.
  16. John Haltiwanger & Julia Lane & James Spletzer, 2000. "Wages, Productivity, and the Dynamic Interaction of Businesses and Workers," NBER Working Papers 7994, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  18. Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 1997. "Institutional Changes and Rising Wage Inequality: Is There a Linkage?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 75-96, Spring.
  19. Ericson, Richard & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Markov-Perfect Industry Dynamics: A Framework for Empirical Work," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(1), pages 53-82, January.
  20. Marco Manacorda, 2004. "Can the Scala Mobile Explain the Fall and Rise of Earnings Inequality in Italy? A Semiparametric Analysis, 19771993," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 585-614, July.
  21. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:indres:v:51:y:2012:i:4:p:779-810. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.