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A Welfare Analysis of Policy Responses to the Skilled Wage Premium

  • William Blankenau

    (Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater)

I build a model with heterogeneous agents which is consistent both with rising wage inequality across education levels and with an increasing relative number of college graduates. I use the model to investigate the welfare implications of policies which influence the structure of net wages. Each policy affects agents directly through taxes and subsides and indirectly as wages respond to changes in the relative supply of skilled and unskilled workers. I find that as wage inequality grows due to skill-biased technological change, policies which promote a more egalitarian wage structure can become increasingly acceptable to all agents and that for nearly all agents, education subsidies may be preferred to direct transfers as a means of decreasing wage inequality. (Copyright: Elsevier)

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/redy.1999.0061
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Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 2 (1999)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 820-849

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Handle: RePEc:red:issued:v:2:y:1999:i:4:p:820-849
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  1. Jagdish Bhagwati, 1995. "Trade and wages: choosing among alternative explanations," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jan, pages 42-47.
  2. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  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. Claudia Goldin & Robert A. Margo, 1991. "The Great Compression: The Wage Structure in the United States at Mid- Century," NBER Working Papers 3817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & JosÈ-Victor RÌos-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 2000. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1029-1054, September.
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