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The dynamics of individual male earnings in Great Britain: 1991-1999

  • Ramos, Xavier

In this paper I analyse the dynamic structure of earnings in Great Britain for the period 1991-1999 by decomposing the earnings covariance structure into its permanent and transitory components. Using information on monthly earnings of male full-time employees from the first nine waves of the British Household Panel Study I find that earnings inequality increases over the Nineties. However, earnings mobility may have also increased. That is, for this period earnings persistence falls. Surprisingly, I also find that relative earnings persistence declines over the life cycle, which implies lower mobility for younger cohorts. This evidence is at odds with previous literature on earnings dynamics both for Britain and other OECD countries. Unlike recent studies, I also consider the effects of observed characteristics on the covariance structure of log earnings and find that human capital and job related characteristics account for nearly all persistent earnings differences and that the transitory component is highly persistent.

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File URL: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/research/publications/working-papers/iser/2001-15.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series ISER Working Paper Series with number 2001-15.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2001
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Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2001-15
Contact details of provider: Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK
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Web page: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/
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  1. John C. Hause, 1977. "The Covariance Structure of Earnings and the On-The-Job Training Hypothesis," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 6, number 4, pages 335-365 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Stewart, M.B. & Swaffield, J.K., 1997. "Low Pay Dynamics and Transition Probabilities," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 495, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  3. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-45, March.
  4. Henry S. Farber & Robert Gibbons, 1994. "Learning and Wage Dynamics," Working Papers 707, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  5. 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.
  6. Hause, John C, 1980. "The Fine Structure of Earnings and the On-the-Job Training Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 1013-29, May.
  7. 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.
  8. Lorenzo Cappellari, 2002. "The dynamics and inequality of Italian male earnings: permanent changes or transitory fluctuations?," 10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002 C2-2, International Conferences on Panel Data.
  9. Burgess, Simon & Lane, Julia & Stevens, David, 1997. "Jobs, Workers and Changes in Earnings Dispersion," CEPR Discussion Papers 1714, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Stephen Nickell & Tracy Jones & Glenda Quintini, 2000. "A picture of job insecurity facing British men," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20141, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  11. Lillard, Lee A & Willis, Robert J, 1978. "Dynamic Aspects of Earning Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 985-1012, September.
  12. repec:ese:iserwp:2000-13 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Baker, Michael, 1997. "Growth-Rate Heterogeneity and the Covariance Structure of Life-Cycle Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 338-75, April.
  14. Anderson, T. W. & Hsiao, Cheng, 1982. "Formulation and estimation of dynamic models using panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 47-82, January.
  15. Stevens, Ann Huff, 1997. "Persistent Effects of Job Displacement: The Importance of Multiple Job Losses," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 165-88, January.
  16. Gregg, Paul & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 2000. "Mind the Gap, Please: The Changing Nature of Entry Jobs in Britain," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 67(268), pages 499-524, November.
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