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Structural demand shifts and potential labor supply responses in the new century

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  • David H. Autor

Abstract

It is widely recognized that inequality of labor market earnings in the United States grew dramatically in recent decades. Over the course of more than three decades, wage growth was weak to nonexistent at the bottom of the distribution, strong at the top of the distribution, and modest at the middle. While real hourly earnings of workers in the bottom 30 percent of the earnings distribution rose by no more than 10 percentage points, earnings of workers at the 90th percentile rose by more than 40 percentage points. What is much less widely known, however, is that this smooth, monotone growth of wage inequality is a feature of a specific time period--and that this time period has passed.

Suggested Citation

  • David H. Autor, 2007. "Structural demand shifts and potential labor supply responses in the new century," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 52.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbcp:y:2007:n:52:x:7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Howell, David R & Wolff, Edward N, 1992. "Technical Change and the Demand for Skills by U.S. Industries," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 127-146, June.
    2. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
    3. 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.
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    Keywords

    Labor supply ; Wages;

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