IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ces/ceswps/_7236.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Which Ladder to Climb? Decomposing Life Cycle Wage Dynamics

Author

Listed:
  • Christian Bayer
  • Moritz Kuhn

Abstract

Wages grow and become more unequal as workers age. Economic theory focuses on worker investment in human capital, search for employers, and residual wage shocks to account for these life cycle wage dynamics. We highlight the importance of jobs: collections of tasks and duties defined by employers within the production process. We provide empirical evidence that climbing the career ladder toward jobs characterized by more responsibility, complexity, and autonomy accounts for the largest part of life cycle wage dynamics. It accounts for 50% of average wage growth, 50% of rising differences between gender, and virtually all of rising dispersion within gender over the life cycle.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Bayer & Moritz Kuhn, 2018. "Which Ladder to Climb? Decomposing Life Cycle Wage Dynamics," CESifo Working Paper Series 7236, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_7236
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp7236_0.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
    2. David Card & Jörg Heining & Patrick Kline, 2013. "Workplace Heterogeneity and the Rise of West German Wage Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(3), pages 967-1015.
    3. Fatih Guvenen, 2009. "An Empirical Investigation of Labor Income Processes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 58-79, January.
    4. Thomas J. Dohmen & Ben Kriechel & Gerard A. Pfann, 2004. "Monkey bars and ladders: The importance of lateral and vertical job mobility in internal labor market careers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 17(2), pages 193-228, June.
    5. Hamish Low & Costas Meghir & Luigi Pistaferri, 2010. "Wage Risk and Employment Risk over the Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1432-1467, September.
    6. Lillard, Lee A & Willis, Robert J, 1978. "Dynamic Aspects of Earning Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 985-1012, September.
    7. Jung, Philip & Kuhn, Moritz, 2012. "Earnings Losses and Labor Mobility over the Lifecycle," IZA Discussion Papers 6835, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Jacobson, Louis S & LaLonde, Robert J & Sullivan, Daniel G, 1993. "Earnings Losses of Displaced Workers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 685-709, September.
    9. repec:oup:qjecon:v:132:y:2017:i:3:p:1165-1217. is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Nick Bloom & Fatih Guvenen & David J. Price & Jae Song, 2015. "Firming Up Inequality," CEP Discussion Papers dp1354, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    11. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1993. "Long-term earnings losses of high-seniority displaced workers," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Nov, pages 2-20.
    12. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
    13. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 251-334, March.
    15. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura & Amir Yaron, 2011. "Sources of Lifetime Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 2923-2954, December.
    16. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Christopher I. & Yaron, Amir, 2004. "Consumption and risk sharing over the life cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 609-633, April.
    17. Huggett, Mark & Ventura, Gustavo & Yaron, Amir, 2006. "Human capital and earnings distribution dynamics," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 265-290, March.
    18. Deaton, Angus, 1985. "Panel data from time series of cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 109-126.
    19. I. Sebastian Buhai & Miguel A. Portela & Coen N. Teulings & Aico van Vuuren, 2014. "Returns to Tenure or Seniority?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(2), pages 705-730, March.
    20. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri & Luigi Pistaferri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "Cross Sectional Facts for Macroeconomists," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 1-14, January.
    21. Deborah Goldschmidt & Johannes F. Schmieder, 2017. "The Rise of Domestic Outsourcing and the Evolution of the German Wage Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(3), pages 1165-1217.
    22. Michael Waldman, 1984. "Job Assignments, Signalling, and Efficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 255-267, Summer.
    23. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2006. "The Polarization of the U.S. Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 189-194, May.
    24. Joseph G. Altonji & Robert A. Shakotko, 1987. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 437-459.
    25. 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.
    26. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "Cross-Country Inequality Trends," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages 121-149, February.
    27. Lorenzo Caliendo & Ferdinando Monte & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2015. "The Anatomy of French Production Hierarchies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 123(4), pages 809-852.
    28. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2295-2350, November.
    29. Bayer, Christian & Juessen, Falko, 2012. "The life-cycle and the business-cycle of wage risk — Cross-country comparisons," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 831-833.
    30. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, December.
    31. Deaton, Angus & Paxson, Christina, 1994. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 437-467, June.
    32. Carroll, Christopher D. & Samwick, Andrew A., 1997. "The nature of precautionary wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 41-71, September.
    33. Kambourov, Gueorgui & Manovskii, Iourii, 2013. "A Cautionary Note On Using (March) Current Population Survey And Panel Study Of Income Dynamics Data To Study Worker Mobility," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 172-194, January.
    34. Jonathan Heathcote & Fabrizio Perri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States: 1967-2006," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 15-51, January.
    35. Santiago Caicedo & Robert E. Lucas Jr. & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2019. "Learning, Career Paths, and the Distribution of Wages," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 49-88, January.
    36. Costas Meghir & Luigi Pistaferri, 2004. "Income Variance Dynamics and Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 1-32, January.
    37. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2005. "Two Views of Inequality Over the Life Cycle," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 765-775, 04/05.
    38. Andreas Hornstein & Per Krusell & Giovanni L. Violante, 2011. "Frictional Wage Dispersion in Search Models: A Quantitative Assessment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 2873-2898, December.
    39. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2014. "Consumption and Labor Supply with Partial Insurance: An Analytical Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(7), pages 2075-2126, July.
    40. Fatih Guvenen & Anthony A. Smith, 2014. "Inferring Labor Income Risk and Partial Insurance From Economic Choices," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82, pages 2085-2129, November.
    41. Philip Oreopoulos & Till von Wachter & Andrew Heisz, 2012. "The Short- and Long-Term Career Effects of Graduating in a Recession," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 1-29, January.
    42. Topel, Robert H, 1991. "Specific Capital, Mobility, and Wages: Wages Rise with Job Seniority," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 145-176, February.
    43. George Baker & Michael Gibbs & Bengt Holmstrom, 1994. "The Internal Economics of the Firm: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 881-919.
    44. Jeremy T. Fox, 2009. "Firm-Size Wage Gaps, Job Responsibility, and Hierarchical Matching," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 83-126, January.
    45. Mary Ann Bronson, 2018. "The Lifecycle Wage Growth of Men and Women: Explaining Gender Differences in Wage Trajectories," 2018 Meeting Papers 923, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    46. Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "Organization and Inequality in a Knowledge Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1383-1435.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    life-cycle wage growth; wage inequality; career ladder;

    JEL classification:

    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_7236. 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: (Klaus Wohlrabe). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.