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Mind the Gap

  • Paul Gregg
  • Jonathan Wadsworth

Britain, perhaps uniquely, has experienced simultaneoud rises in both wage inequality and polarisation of eployment across households over the past twenty years. This article investigates the inter-relations of these two trends by examining the changing nature of new jobs and the characteristics of the individuals who fill them. One of the principal reasons why new jobs are increasingly taken by individuals with partners in work is the low wages associated with these jobs. Using a simple matching framework, a rising share of bad, low quality, jobs in the stock of entry jobs can be shown to be consistent with a positive labour supply shock, rising separation rates, cost or productivity shocks, all of which have hit Britain, to some degree, over the past fifteen years. Using household survey data, the paper shows that real entry wages have fallen relative to the wages of those in other jobs. Entry jobs are dominated by high turnover forms of employment, part-time, temporary working and self-employment. Low wage/high turnover forms of working are less likely to be filled by those from workless households. Rising wage inequality re-enforces employment polarisation.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0303.

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Date of creation: Aug 1996
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0303
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