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Labor Earnings Mobility and Inequality in the United States and Germany during the Growth Years of the 1980s

  • Burkhauser, Richard V
  • Holtz-Eakin, Douglas
  • Rhody, Stephen E

Recent years have witnessed increased interest in issues of inequality and mobility in the labor market. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and the German Socio-Economic Panel, we compare the labor earnings mobility of prime age men and women in the United States and Germany during the growth-years. Despite major differences in labor market institutions we find very similar patterns in the two countries. Our formal models of labor earnings dynamics suggest a great deal of persistence in both countries. In the United States this may derive from permanent individual specific differences among men, while in Germany random shocks are found to persist longer for men. Women in Germany and the United States have similar earnings dynamics. Copyright 1997 by Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.

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Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association in its journal International Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 38 (1997)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 775-94

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Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:38:y:1997:i:4:p:775-94
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  1. Katharine G. Abraham & Susan N. Houseman, 1993. "Job Security in America: Lessons from Germany," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number kagsnh1993, April.
  2. Katharine G. Abraham & Susan Houseman, 1995. "Earnings Inequality in Germany," NBER Chapters, in: Differences and Changes in Wage Structures, pages 371-404 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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 1333-81, September.
  4. Richard V. Burkhauser & John G. Poupore, 1997. "A Cross-National Comparison Of Permanent Inequality In The United States And Germany," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(1), pages 10-17, February.
  5. Lillard, Lee A & Willis, Robert J, 1978. "Dynamic Aspects of Earning Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 985-1012, September.
  6. Katharine G. Abraham & Susan N. Houseman, 1993. "Does Employment Protection Inhibit Labor Market Flexibility? Lessons from Germany, France, and Belgium," NBER Working Papers 4390, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Gottschalk, Peter, 1993. "Changes in Inequality of Family Income in Seven Industrialized Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 136-42, May.
  8. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-45, March.
  9. 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.
  10. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
  11. 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.
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