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The changing nature of wage inequality

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  • Thomas Lemieux

Abstract

The paper reviews recent developments in the literature on wage inequality, with a particular focus on why inequality growth has been particularly concentrated in the top end of the wage distribution over the last 15 years. Several possible institutional and demand-side explanations are discussed for the secular growth in wage inequality in the United States and other advanced industrialized countries. The paper concludes that three promising explanations for the growth in top-end wage inequality are de-unionization, the increased prevalence of pay for performance, and changes in the relative demand for the types of tasks performed by workers in high-paying occupations.
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Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Lemieux, 2008. "The changing nature of wage inequality," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(1), pages 21-48, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:21:y:2008:i:1:p:21-48
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-007-0169-0
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality; Institutions; Technological change; J24; J31; J51;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

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