IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/eecrev/v50y2006i1p55-89.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Earnings inequality and the business cycle

Author

Listed:
  • Barlevy, Gadi
  • Tsiddon, Daniel

Abstract

Economists have long viewed recessions as contributing to increasing inequality. However, this conclusion is largely based on data from a period in which inequality was increasing over time. This paper examines the connection between long-run trends and cyclical variation in earnings inequality. We develop a model in which cyclical and trend inequality are related, and find that in our model, recessions tend to amplify long-run trends, i.e. they involve more rapidly increasing inequality more when long-run inequality is increasing, and more rapidly decreasing inequality when long-run inequality is decreasing. In support of this prediction, we present evidence that during the first half of the 20th Century when earnings inequality was generally declining, earnings disparities indeed appeared to fall more rapidly in downturns, at least among workers at the top of the earnings distribution.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Barlevy, Gadi & Tsiddon, Daniel, 2006. "Earnings inequality and the business cycle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 55-89, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:50:y:2006:i:1:p:55-89
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014-2921(04)00106-0
    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. Dellas, Harris & Sakellaris, Plutarchos, 1996. "On the cyclicality of schooling: Theory and evidence," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 1997002, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    2. Cooper, Russell & Haltiwanger, John, 1993. "The Aggregate Implications of Machine Replacement: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 360-382, June.
    3. Constantinides, George M & Duffie, Darrell, 1996. "Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 219-240, April.
    4. Claudia Goldin & Robert A. Margo, 1992. "The Great Compression: The Wage Structure in the United States at Mid-Century," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 1-34.
    5. repec:hrv:faseco:30703979 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2007. "Asset Pricing with Idiosyncratic Risk and Overlapping Generations," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(4), pages 519-548, October.
    7. Horst Mendershausen, 1946. "Changes in Income Distribution during the Great Depression (Studies in Income and Wealth, vol. 7)," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number mend46-1, January-J.
    8. Francesco Caselli, 1999. "Technological Revolutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 78-102, March.
    9. Galor, Oded & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1997. "Technological Progress, Mobility, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 363-382, June.
    10. Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1994. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-25.
    11. Bernanke, Ben S, 1986. "Employment, Hours, and Earnings in the Depression: An Analysis of EightManufacturing Industries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 82-109, March.
    12. Greenwood, Jeremy & Yorukoglu, Mehmet, 1997. "1974," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 49-95, June.
      • Greenwood, J. & Yorukoglu, M., 1996. "1974," RCER Working Papers 429, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    13. Daron Acemoglu & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1999. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 539-572, June.
    14. Heaton, John & Lucas, Deborah J, 1996. "Evaluating the Effects of Incomplete Markets on Risk Sharing and Asset Pricing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 443-487, June.
    15. Aghion, Philippe & Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1998. "VIRTUES OF BAD TIMES Interaction Between Productivity Growth and Economic Fluctuations," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(3), pages 322-344, September.
    16. Tom Krebs, 2003. "Human Capital Risk and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 709-744.
    17. Ben S. Bernanke & James Powell, 1986. "The Cyclical Behavior of Industrial Labor Markets: A Comparison of the Prewar and Postwar Eras," NBER Chapters, in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 583-638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Simon Kuznets & Elizabeth Jenks, 1953. "Shares of Upper Income Groups in Income and Savings (1953)," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn53-1, January-J.
    19. David M. Cutler & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "Macroeconomic Performance and the Disadvantaged," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 1-74.
    20. Goldin, Claudia, 1998. "America's Graduation from High School: The Evolution and Spread of Secondary Schooling in the Twentieth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 345-374, June.
    21. Tom Krebs, 2003. "Growth and Welfare Effects of Business Cycles in Economies with Idiosyncratic Human Capital Risk," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(4), pages 846-868, October.
    22. repec:cup:macdyn:v:2:y:1998:i:3:p:322-44 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1986. "The equity premium and the concentration of aggregate shocks," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 211-219, September.
    24. Rebecca M. Blank & Alan S. Blinder, 1985. "Macroeconomics, Income Distribution, and Poverty," NBER Working Papers 1567, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    25. 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.
    26. Alexander J. Field, 2003. "The Most Technologically Progressive Decade of the Century," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1399-1413, September.
    27. Simon Kuznets & Elizabeth Jenks, 1953. "Shares of Upper Income Groups in Savings," NBER Chapters, in: Shares of Upper Income Groups in Income and Savings (1953), pages 171-218, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    28. Rubinstein, Y. & Tsiddon, D., 1999. "Born to be Unemployed: Unemployment and Wages over the Business Cycle," Papers 39-99, Tel Aviv.
    29. Blinder, Alan S & Esaki, Howard Y, 1978. "Macroeconomic Activity and Income Distribution in the Postwar United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(4), pages 604-609, November.
    30. Schmitz, Mark & Fishback, Price V., 1983. "The Distribution of the Income in the Great Depression: Preliminary State Estimates," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(1), pages 217-230, March.
    31. Julian R. Betts & Laurel L. McFarland, 1995. "Safe Port in a Storm: The Impact of Labor Market Conditions on Community College Enrollments," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(4), pages 741-765.
    32. Harris Dellas & Plutarchos Sakellaris, 2003. "On the cyclicality of schooling: theory and evidence," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 148-172, January.
    33. Gary S. Becker, 1975. "Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, with Special Reference to Education, Second Edition," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck75-1, January-J.
    34. Imrohoruglu, Ayse, 1989. "Cost of Business Cycles with Indivisibilities and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1364-1383, December.
    35. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Chris I. & Yaron, Amir, 2001. "The welfare cost of business cycles revisited: Finite lives and cyclical variation in idiosyncratic risk," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1311-1339.
    36. Robert E. Hall, 1991. "Labor Demand, Labor Supply, and Employment Volatility," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1991, Volume 6, pages 17-62, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    37. Ian W. McLean, 1988. "The Distributional Impact of the Depression in the United States," School of Economics Working Papers 1988-04, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. R. D. Plotnick & E. Smolensky & E. Evenhouse & S. Reilly, "undated". "The Twentieth Century Record of Inequality and Poverty in the United States," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1166-98, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    2. Gadi Barlevy, 2004. "On the Timing of Innovation in Stochastic Schumpeterian Growth Models," NBER Working Papers 10741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Alisdair McKay & Tamas Papp, 2011. "Accounting for Idiosyncratic Wage Risk Over the Business Cycle," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2011-028, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    4. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris I. Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Cyclical Dynamics in Idiosyncratic Labor Market Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 695-717, June.
    5. Mark C. Freeman, 2004. "Can Market Incompleteness Resolve Asset Pricing Puzzles?," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(7-8), pages 927-949.
    6. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Quantitative Macroeconomics with Heterogeneous Households," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 319-354, May.
    7. Alexis Akira Toda, 2015. "Asset Prices and Efficiency in a Krebs Economy," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(4), pages 957-978, October.
    8. Tom Krebs, 2007. "Job Displacement Risk and the Cost of Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 664-686, June.
    9. Josep Pijoan-Mas, 2007. "Pricing Risk in Economies with Heterogeneous Agents and Incomplete Markets," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(5), pages 987-1015, September.
    10. Tom Krebs, 2006. "Multi-Dimensional Risk and the Cost of Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(4), pages 640-658, October.
    11. Turnovsky, Stephen J. & Bianconi, Marcelo, 2005. "Welfare Gains From Stabilization In A Stochastically Growing Economy With Idiosyncratic Shocks And Flexible Labor Supply," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(3), pages 321-357, June.
    12. Mark C. Freeman, 2004. "Can Market Incompleteness Resolve Asset Pricing Puzzles?," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(7‐8), pages 927-949, September.
    13. Tom Krebs, 2002. "Growth & Welfare Effects of Business Cycles In Economies with Idiosyncratic Human Capital Risk," Working Papers 2002-31, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    14. Colleen Carey & Stephen H. Shore, 2013. "From the Peaks to the Valleys: Cross-State Evidence on Income Volatility over the Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 549-562, May.
    15. Tom Krebs & Pravin Krishna & William Maloney, 2010. "Trade Policy, Income Risk, and Welfare," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 467-481, August.
    16. Fabio Méndez & Facundo Sepúlveda, 2012. "The Cyclicality of Skill Acquisition: Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 128-152, July.
    17. repec:pri:wwseco:dp233 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Cochrane, John H., 2005. "Financial Markets and the Real Economy," Foundations and Trends(R) in Finance, now publishers, vol. 1(1), pages 1-101, July.
    19. Olivier Allais & Yann Algan & Edouard Challe & Xavier Ragot, 2020. "The Welfare Cost of Inflation Risk under Imperfect Insurance," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 138, pages 1-20.
    20. Angeletos, George-Marios & Calvet, Laurent-Emmanuel, 2005. "Incomplete-market dynamics in a neoclassical production economy," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4-5), pages 407-438, August.
    21. Alexis Akira Toda & Kieran James Walsh, 2017. "Fat tails and spurious estimation of consumption‐based asset pricing models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(6), pages 1156-1177, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor

    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:50:y:2006:i:1:p:55-89. 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: . 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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer .

    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.