IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/eecrev/v107y2018icp157-184.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Explaining cross-cohort differences in life-cycle earnings

Author

Listed:
  • Kong, Y.-C.
  • Ravikumar, B.
  • Vandenbroucke, G.

Abstract

College-educated workers entering the labor market in 1940 experienced a 4-fold increase in their labor earnings between the ages of 25 and 55; in contrast, the increase was 2.6-fold for those entering the market in 1980. For workers without a college education these figures are 3.6-fold and 1.5-fold, respectively. Why are earnings profiles flatter for recent cohorts? We build a parsimonious model of schooling and human capital accumulation on the job, and calibrate it to earnings statistics of workers from the 1940 cohort. The model accounts for 99% of the flattening of earnings profiles for workers with a college education between the 1940 and the 1980 cohorts (52% for workers without a college education). The flattening in our model results from a single exogenous factor: the increasing price of skills. The higher skill price induces (i) higher college enrollment for recent cohorts and thus a change in the educational composition of workers and (ii) higher human capital at the start of work life for college-educated workers in the recent cohorts, which implies lower earnings growth over the life cycle.

Suggested Citation

  • Kong, Y.-C. & Ravikumar, B. & Vandenbroucke, G., 2018. "Explaining cross-cohort differences in life-cycle earnings," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 157-184.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:107:y:2018:i:c:p:157-184
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2018.06.005
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014292118300916
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hyeok Jeong & Yong Kim & Iourii Manovskii, 2015. "The Price of Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(2), pages 784-815, February.
    2. Andrés Erosa & Tatyana Koreshkova & Diego Restuccia, 2010. "How Important Is Human Capital? A Quantitative Theory Assessment of World Income Inequality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1421-1449.
    3. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
    4. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2001. "Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 705-746.
    5. Hendricks, Lutz & Schoellman, Todd, 2014. "Student abilities during the expansion of US education," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 19-36.
    6. James Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explanations With A Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings With Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 1-58, January.
    7. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura & Amir Yaron, 2011. "Sources of Lifetime Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 2923-2954, December.
    8. Carter,Susan B. & Gartner,Scott Sigmund & Haines,Michael R. & Olmstead,Alan L. & Sutch,Richard & Wri (ed.), 2006. "The Historical Statistics of the United States 5 Volume Hardback Set," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521817912.
    9. Huggett, Mark & Ventura, Gustavo & Yaron, Amir, 2006. "Human capital and earnings distribution dynamics," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 265-290, March.
    10. Keller, Elisa, 2014. "The slowdown in American educational attainment," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 252-270.
    11. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352-352.
    12. Browning, Martin & Hansen, Lars Peter & Heckman, James J., 1999. "Micro data and general equilibrium models," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 543-633 Elsevier.
    13. Audra J. Bowlus & Chris Robinson, 2012. "Human Capital Prices, Productivity, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3483-3515, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:eecrev:v:115:y:2019:i:c:p:221-241 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:dyncon:v:98:y:2019:i:c:p:82-104 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Vandenbroucke, Guillaume, 2018. "The Baby Boomers and the Productivity Slowdown," Working Papers 2018-37, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    4. repec:fip:fedlrv:00083 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Hendricks, Lutz, 2016. "Accounting for changing returns to experience," CFS Working Paper Series 558, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    6. Keller, Elisa, 2014. "The slowdown in American educational attainment," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 252-270.
    7. Delalibera, Bruno Ricardo & Ferreira, Pedro Cavalcanti, 2019. "Early childhood education and economic growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 82-104.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Life-cycle earnings; Flattening; Skill price; Education composition;

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:107:y:2018:i:c:p:157-184. 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: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.