IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/fip/fedkpr/y1998p69-133.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Causes of changing earnings inequality

Author

Listed:
  • Dennis J. Snower

Abstract

This paper surveys major empirical regularities concerning changes in earnings inequality in Europe and the U.S. over the past 25 years. Next, it indicates which of these regularities can be explained within the competitive demand-supply framework of analysis and what is left unexplained. Finally, it considers the implications of organizational change as a possible rationale for recent inequality developments.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Dennis J. Snower, 1998. "Causes of changing earnings inequality," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 69-133.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkpr:y:1998:p:69-133
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.kansascityfed.org/publicat/sympos/1998/S98snower.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. B Bell & Stephen Nickell, 1996. "Would Cutting Payroll Taxes on the Unskilled Have a Significant Effect on Unemployment?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0276, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-1044, September.
    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. Daniel Cohen, 1998. "The Wealth of the World and the Poverty of Nations," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262032538, September.
    5. Alan B. Krueger, 1993. "How Computers Have Changed the Wage Structure: Evidence from Microdata, 1984–1989," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(1), pages 33-60.
    6. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J, 1996. "Reorganization of Firms and Labor-Market Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 315-321, May.
    7. Steven J. Davis, 1992. "Cross-Country Patterns of Change in Relative Wages," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1992, Volume 7, pages 239-300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Haskel, Jonathan & Heden, Ylva, 1999. "Computers and the Demand for Skilled Labour: Industry- and Establishment-Level Panel Evidence for the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(454), pages 68-79, March.
    9. Peter Gottschalk, 1997. "Inequality, Income Growth, and Mobility: The Basic Facts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 21-40, Spring.
    10. Stephen Machin & Alan Manning, 1992. "Minimum Wages," CEP Discussion Papers dp0080, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    11. Edmund S. Phelps & Gylfi Zoega, 1996. "The Incidence of Increased Unemployment in the Group of Seven, 1970-1994," Archive Discussion Papers 9621, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
    12. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J, 1988. " Job Security, Work Incentives and Unemployment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 90(4), pages 453-474.
    13. Richard B. Freeman, 1980. "Unionism and the Dispersion of Wages," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(1), pages 3-23, October.
    14. Assar Lindbeck & Dennis Snower, 1996. "Centralised Bargaining, Multitasking and Work Incentives," Archive Discussion Papers 9624, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
    15. Jacob Mincer, 1989. "Human Capital Responses to Technological Change in the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 3207, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Lawrence F. Katz & Ana L. Revenga, 1989. "Changes in the Structure of Wages: The U.S. versus Japan," NBER Working Papers 3021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Per-Anders Edin & Bertil Holmlund, 1995. "The Swedish Wage Structure: The Rise and Fall of Solidarity Wage Policy?," NBER Chapters, in: Differences and Changes in Wage Structures, pages 307-344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Harry C. Katz, 1993. "The Decentralization of Collective Bargaining: A Literature Review and Comparative Analysis," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(1), pages 3-22, October.
    19. Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
    20. Ernst R. Berndt & Catherine J. Morrison & Larry S. Rosenblum, 1992. "High-Tech Capital Formation and Labor Composition in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: An Exploratory Analysis," NBER Working Papers 4010, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Richard B. Freeman & Robert S. Gibbons, 1995. "Getting Together and Breaking Apart: The Decline of Centralized Collective Bargaining," NBER Chapters, in: Differences and Changes in Wage Structures, pages 345-370, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1994. "The Growth of Earnings Instability in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 217-272.
    23. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1993. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 4255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J., 1995. "Restructuring Production and Work," CEPR Discussion Papers 1323, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    25. Jacob Mincer, 1991. "Human Capital, Technology, and the Wage Structure: What Do Time Series Show?," NBER Working Papers 3581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    26. Welch, Finis, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 65-97, October.
    27. Murnane, Richard J & Willett, John B & Levy, Frank, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 251-266, May.
    28. Weiss, Andrew W, 1980. "Job Queues and Layoffs in Labor Markets with Flexible Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 526-538, June.
    29. J.E. Haskel & M.J. Slaughter, 1998. "Does the Sector Bias of Skill-Biased Technical Change Explain Changing Wage Inequality?," Working Papers 386, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    30. Lawrence F. Katz & Gary W. Loveman & David G. Blanchflower, 1995. "A Comparison of Changes in the Structure of Wages in Four OECD Countries," NBER Chapters, in: Differences and Changes in Wage Structures, pages 25-66, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    31. Booth,Alison L. & Snower,Dennis J. (ed.), 1996. "Acquiring Skills," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521472050.
    32. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U. S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-397.
    33. Lindbeck, Assar, 1997. "The Division of Labor Within Firms," Seminar Papers 628, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
    34. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J., 1987. "Efficiency wages versus insiders and outsiders," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-2), pages 407-416.
    35. Snower, Dennis J, 1994. "Converting Unemployment Benefits into Employment Subsidies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 65-70, May.
    36. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-1381, September.
    37. McKinley L. Blackburn & David E. Bloom & Richard B. Freeman, 1989. "The Declining Economic Position of Less-Skilled American Males," NBER Working Papers 3186, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    38. 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.
    39. Bourguignon, F. & Morrisson, C. & Atkinson, A.B., 1991. "Empirical Studies of Earnings Mobility," DELTA Working Papers 91-14, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
    40. Edmund Phelps, 1997. "Rewarding Work," Challenge, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(4), pages 15-26, July.
    41. Lawrence F. Katz & Gary W. Loveman & David G. Blanchflower, 1993. "A Comparison of Changes in the Structure of Wages," NBER Working Papers 4297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    42. Richard B. Freeman, 1995. "Are Your Wages Set in Beijing?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 15-32, Summer.
    43. George E. Johnson, 1997. "Changes in Earnings Inequality: The Role of Demand Shifts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 41-54, Spring.
    44. John E. DiNardo & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 1997. "The Returns to Computer Use Revisited: Have Pencils Changed the Wage Structure Too?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 291-303.
    45. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1, March.
    46. Richard M. Locke, 1992. "The Demise of the National Union in Italy: Lessons for Comparative Industrial Relations Theory," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 45(2), pages 229-249, January.
    47. 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.
    48. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Technology, Strategy, and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 511-528, June.
    49. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J, 1990. "Cooperation, Harassment, and Involuntary Unemployment: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 631-636, June.
    50. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J, 1986. "Wage Setting, Unemployment, and Insider-Outsider Relations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 235-239, May.
    51. Nickell, Stephen & Bell, Brian, 1995. "The Collapse in Demand for the Unskilled and Unemployment across the OECD," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 40-62, Spring.
    52. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
    53. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "The Decline of Non-Competing Groups: Changes in the Premium to Education, 1890 to 1940," NBER Working Papers 5202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    54. Booth,Alison L. & Snower,Dennis J. (ed.), 1996. "Acquiring Skills," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521479578.
    55. Bound, John & Johnson, George, 1992. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the 1980's: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 371-392, June.
    56. Topel, Robert H, 1994. "Regional Labor Markets and the Determinants of Wage Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 17-22, May.
    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. Snower, Dennis J., 1999. "Inequality of Earnings," CEPR Discussion Papers 2321, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Jeff Borland, 2000. "Economic Explanations of Earnings Distribution Trends in the International Literature and Application to New Zealand," Treasury Working Paper Series 00/16, New Zealand Treasury.
    3. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
    4. Stephen Machin & John Van Reenen, 2007. "Changes in Wage Inequality," CEP Special Papers 18, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    5. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "Cross-Country Inequality Trends," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages 121-149, February.
    6. 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.
    7. Åsa Rosén & Etienne Wasmer, 2005. "Higher Education Levels, Firms’ Outside Options and the Wage Structure," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 19(4), pages 621-654, December.
    8. Wasmer, Etienne, 2001. "Between-group Competition in the Labor Market and the Rising Returns to Skill: US and France 1964-2000," IZA Discussion Papers 292, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Fonseca, Tiago & Lima, Francisco & Pereira, Sonia C., 2018. "Job polarization, technological change and routinization: Evidence for Portugal," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 317-339.
    10. Dennis Snower, 1996. "The modern welfare state: Problems and suggested reforms," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 207-226, October.
    11. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2003. "Understanding International Differences in the Gender Pay Gap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 106-144, January.
    12. Piva, Mariacristina & Santarelli, Enrico & Vivarelli, Marco, 2005. "The skill bias effect of technological and organisational change: Evidence and policy implications," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 141-157, March.
    13. Jorge Saba Arbache, 2001. "Trade Liberalisation and Labor Markets in Developing Countries: Theory and Evidence," Studies in Economics 0112, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    14. Peter Kuhn (McMaster), "undated". "Labour Market Polarization: Canada in International Perspective," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 02, McMaster University.
    15. R. Nahuis & H.M. de Groot, 2003. "Rising Skills Premia. You ain't seen nothing yet," Working Papers 03-02, Utrecht School of Economics.
    16. Borghans, Lex & ter Weel, Bas, 2007. "The diffusion of computers and the distribution of wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 715-748, April.
    17. Maarten Goos & Melanie Arntz & Ulrich Zierahn & Terry Gregory & Stephanie Carretero Gomez & Ignacio Gonzalez Vazquez & Koen Jonkers, 2019. "The Impact of Technological Innovation on the Future of Work," JRC Working Papers on Labour, Education and Technology 2019-03, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    18. Weinberg, Bruce A., 2004. "Experience and Technology Adoption," IZA Discussion Papers 1051, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J, 2000. "Multitask Learning and the Reorganization of Work: From Tayloristic to Holistic Organization," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 353-376, July.
    20. Borghans, Lex & Weel, Bas ter, 2001. "What happens when agent T gets a computer?," Research Memorandum 017, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Income distribution; Wages;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

    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:fip:fedkpr:y:1998:p:69-133. 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: https://edirc.repec.org/data/frbkcus.html .

    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.