IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The Macroeconomic Implications of Rising Wage Inequality in the United States

  • Jonathan Heathcote
  • Kjetil Storesletten
  • Giovanni L. Violante

In recent decades, American workers have faced a rising college premium, a narrowing gender gap, and increasing wage volatility. This paper explores the quantitative and welfare implications of these changes. The framework is an incomplete-markets life cycle model in which individuals choose education, intrafamily time allocation, and savings. Given the observed history of the U.S. wage structure, the model replicates key trends in cross-sectional inequality in hours worked, earnings, and consumption. Recent cohorts enjoy welfare gains,on average, as higher relative wages for college graduates and for women translate into higher educational attainment and a more even division of labor within the household. (c) 2010 by The University of Chicago. Allrights reserved.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/656632
File Function: link to full text
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 118 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (08)
Pages: 681-722

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:118:y:2010:i:4:p:681-722
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE/

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Costas Meghir & Luigi Pistaferri, 2004. "Income Variance Dynamics and Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 1-32, 01.
  2. Heathcote, Jonathan & Storesletten, Kjetil & Violante, Giovanni L, 2004. "Two Views of Inequality Over the Life-Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 4728, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Jeremy Lise & Shannon Seitz, 2007. "Consumption inequality and intra-household allocations," IFS Working Papers W07/09, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Fernández, Raquel & Fogli, Alessandra, 2005. "Culture: An Empirical Investigation of Beliefs, Work and Fertility," CEPR Discussion Papers 5089, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Hamish Low & Costas Meghir & Luigi Pistaferri, 2006. "Wage risk and employment risk over the life cycle," IFS Working Papers W06/27, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Heathcote, Jonathan & Storesletten, Kjetil & Violante, Giovanni L., 2008. "Insurance and opportunities: A welfare analysis of labor market risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 501-525, April.
  7. Orazio Attanasio & Hamish Low & Virginia Sanchez-Marcos, 2008. "Explaining Changes in Female Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1517-52, September.
  8. Claudia Goldin, 2006. "The Quiet Revolution That Transformed Women's Employment, Education, and Family," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 1-21, May.
  9. Jonathan Heathcote, 2003. "The Macroeconomic Implications of Rising Wage Inequality in the United States," Working Papers gueconwpa~03-03-19, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  10. Eric French, 2000. "The labor supply response to (mismeasured but) predictable wage changes," Working Paper Series WP-00-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  11. James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explorations with a Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings with Heterogeneous Agents," NBER Working Papers 6384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," NBER Working Papers 7732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Attanasio, Orazio & Davis, Steven J, 1996. "Relative Wage Movements and the Distribution of Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1227-62, December.
  14. Larry E. Jones & Rodolfo E. Manuelli & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2003. "Why are married women working so much?," Staff Report 317, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  15. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 1997. "Capital-skill complementarity and inequality: a macroeconomic analysis," Staff Report 239, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  16. Richard Blundell & Thomas MaCurdy, 1998. "Labour supply: a review of alternative approaches," IFS Working Papers W98/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  17. Raquel Fernandez & Richard Rogerson, 2000. "Sorting and Long-Run Inequality," NBER Working Papers 7508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. 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.
  19. Domeij, David & Heathcote, Jonathan, 2000. "Factor Taxation with Heterogeneous Agents," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 372, Stockholm School of Economics.
  20. Domeij, David & Floden, Martin, 2001. "The labor-supply elasticity and borrowing constraints: Why estimates are biased," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 480, Stockholm School of Economics.
  21. 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.
  22. Christopher D. Carroll, 2005. "The Method of Endogenous Gridpoints for Solving Dynamic Stochastic Optimization Problems," NBER Technical Working Papers 0309, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Katz, Lawrence & Goldin, Claudia, 2002. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions," Scholarly Articles 2624453, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  24. Hornstein, Andreas & Krusell, Per & Violante, Giovanni L, 2005. "The Effects of Technical Change on Labour Market Inequalities," CEPR Discussion Papers 5025, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. Fatih Guvenen & Burhanettin Kuruscu, 2010. "A Quantitative Analysis of the Evolution of the U.S. Wage Distribution, 1970-2000," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2009, Volume 24, pages 227-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Claudia Olivetti, 2005. "Changes in Women's Hours of Market Work: The Role of Returns to Experience," Boston University - Department of Economics - Macroeconomics Working Papers Series WP2005-008, Boston University - Department of Economics, revised Jun 2006.
  27. Greenwood, J. & Hercowitz, Z., 1991. "The Allocation of Capital and Time Over the Business Cycles," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9104, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  28. Josep Pijoan-Mas, 2006. "Precautionary Savings or Working Longer Hours?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(2), pages 326-352, April.
  29. Joseph G. Altonji & Lewis M. Segal, 1994. "Small Sample Bias in GMM Estimation of Covariance Structures," NBER Technical Working Papers 0156, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Giorgio E. Primiceri & Thijs van Rens, 2006. "Heterogeneous life-cycle profiles, income risk and consumption inequality," Economics Working Papers 945, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Aug 2008.
  31. David M. Cutler & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "Macroeconomic Performance and the Disadvantaged," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 1-74.
  32. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
  33. Imrohoruglu, Ayse, 1989. "Cost of Business Cycles with Indivisibilities and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1364-83, December.
  34. Javier Díaz-Giménez & Vincenzo Quadrini & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 1997. "Dimensions of inequality: facts on the U.S. distributions of earnings, income, and wealth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 3-21.
  35. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
  36. Greenwood,J. & Seshadri,A. & Yorukoglu,M., 2002. "Engines of liberation," Working papers 1, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  37. Yongsung Chang & Sun-Bin Kim, 2003. "From individual to aggregate labor supply : a quantitative analysis based on a heterogeneous agent macroeconomy," Working Paper 03-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  38. Aiyagari, S.R. & Greenwood, J. & Guner, N., 1999. "On the State of the Union," RCER Working Papers 462, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  39. Raquel Fernández & Richard Rogerson, 2001. "Sorting and Long-Run Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1305-1341.
  40. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2003. "On the Welfare Consequences of the Increase in Inequality in the United States," NBER Working Papers 9993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  41. Heathcote, Jonathan & Storesletten, Kjetil & Violante, Giovanni L, 2007. "Consumption and Labour Supply with Partial Insurance: An Analytical Framework," CEPR Discussion Papers 6280, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  42. Francisco Barillas & Jesús Fernández-Villaverde, 2006. "A Generalization of the Endogenous Grid Method," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001200, UCLA Department of Economics.
  43. Cawley, John & Heckman, James & Vytlacil, Edward, 2001. "Three observations on wages and measured cognitive ability," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 419-442, September.
  44. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1998. "Consumption Inequality and Income Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 603-640.
  45. Cubeddu, Luis & Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor, 2003. "Families as Shocks," CEPR Discussion Papers 3924, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  46. Ana Castaneda & Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2003. "Accounting for the U.S. Earnings and Wealth Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 818-857, August.
  47. Benhabib, Jess & Rogerson, Richard & Wright, Randall, 1991. "Homework in Macroeconomics: Household Production and Aggregate Fluctuations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1166-87, December.
  48. Manning, Alan & Petrongolo, Barbara, 2006. "The Part-Time Pay Penalty for Women in Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 2419, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  49. Richard Blundell & Luigi Pistaferri & Ian Preston, 2004. "Consumption inequality and partial insurance," IFS Working Papers W04/28, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  50. Orazio Attanasio & Erich Battistin & Hidehiko Ichimura, 2004. "What Really Happened to Consumption Inequality in the US?," NBER Working Papers 10338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  51. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris Telmer & Amir Yaron, 1997. "Consumption and risk sharing over the life cycle," GSIA Working Papers 228, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  52. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2005. "Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980-2000," NBER Working Papers 11230, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  53. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993. "Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving," Working Papers 502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  54. repec:pri:cepsud:113krusell is not listed on IDEAS
  55. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2006. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 163-193.
  56. Dean R. Hyslop, 2001. "Rising U.S. Earnings Inequality and Family Labor Supply: The Covariance Structure of Intrafamily Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 755-777, September.
  57. Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
  58. Thomas Lemieux & David Card, 2001. "Going to College to Avoid the Draft: The Unintended Legacy of the Vietnam War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 97-102, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. The Macroeconomic Implications of Rising Wage Inequality in the United States (JPE 2010) in ReplicationWiki

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:118:y:2010:i:4:p:681-722. 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: (Journals Division)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.