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Twenty Years of Rising Inequality in U.S. Lifetime Labour Income Values

Author

Listed:
  • Audra J. Bowlus

    (University of Western Ontario - UWO - University of Western Ontario)

  • Jean-Marc Robin

    () (EUREQUA - Equipe Universitaire de Recherche en Economie Quantitative - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - ENSAI - Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Analyse de l'Information [Bruz] - X - École polytechnique - ENSAE ParisTech - École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique)

Abstract

In this paper we study the evolution of lifetime labour income inequality by constructing present value life cycle measures that incorporate both earnings and employment risk. We find that, even though lifetime income inequality is 40% less than earnings inequality, the total increase in lifetime income inequality over the past 20 years is the same as earnings inequality. While the total increase is the same, the pathways there differ with earnings inequality experiencing a steady increase and lifetime income inequality increasing in spurts particularly in the latter half of the 1990s. Finally, we find the changes in lifetime income inequality are primarily driven by changes in earnings mobility and changes in the earnings distribution itself, changes in employment risk and the composition of the sample, such as the shift toward attaining more education and the ageing population, do not play a large role. Copyright 2004 The Review of Economic Studies Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Audra J. Bowlus & Jean-Marc Robin, 2004. "Twenty Years of Rising Inequality in U.S. Lifetime Labour Income Values," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00279656, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:hal-00279656
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00279656
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    Cited by:

    1. Dirk Kreuger & Fabrizio Perri, 2002. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory," Working Papers 02-15, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    2. Gadi Barlevy, 2003. "Estimating models of on-the-job search using record statistics," Working Paper Series WP-03-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    3. Garnero, Andrea & Hijzen, Alexander & Martin, Sébastien, 2016. "More Unequal, But More Mobile? Earnings Inequality and Mobility in OECD Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 9753, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Gadi Barlevy & H. N. Nagaraja, 2006. "Identification of Search Models with Initial Condition Problems," 2006 Meeting Papers 4, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Hélène Turon, 2007. "The Public Pay Gap in Britain: Small Differences That (Don't?) Matter," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1460-1503, October.
    6. Dickson, Matt & Postel-Vinay, Fabien & Turon, Hélène, 2014. "The lifetime earnings premium in the public sector: The view from Europe," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 141-161.
    7. Alexander Whalley, 2004. "Black-White Differences in the Insurance Value of Human Capital," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 575, Econometric Society.
    8. Zsófia L. Bárány, 2016. "The Minimum Wage and Inequality: The Effects of Education and Technology," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(1), pages 237-274.
    9. Heathcote, Jonathan & Storesletten, Kjetil & Violante, Giovanni L, 2004. "The Cross-Sectional Implications of Rising Wage Inequality in the United States," CEPR Discussion Papers 4296, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Stéphane Bonhomme & Jean-Marc Robin, 2009. "Assessing the Equalizing Force of Mobility Using Short Panels: France, 1990-2000," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 63-92.
    11. Paul Frijters & Maarten Lindeboom & Gerard van den Berg, 2000. "Persistencies in the Labour Market," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 087a, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
    12. Gadi Barlevy & H. N. Nagaraja, 2010. "Estimating Mobility Rates in Search Models with Initial Condition Problems," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(4), pages 780-799, October.
    13. Audra J. Bowlus & Jean-Marc Robin, 2012. "An International Comparison Of Lifetime Inequality: How Continental Europe Resembles North America," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(6), pages 1236-1262, December.
    14. van Dalen, H.P. & Henkens, K., 2015. "Why Demotion of Older Workers is a No-Go Area for Managers," Discussion Paper 2015-025, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    15. Jolivet, Grégory, 2009. "A longitudinal analysis of search frictions and matching in the U.S. labor market," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 121-134, April.
    16. Blundell, Richard & Joyce, Robert & Norris Keiller, Agnes & Ziliak, James P., 2018. "Income inequality and the labour market in Britain and the US," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 48-62.
    17. Josep Pijoan-Mas & Hernan Ruffo & Claudio Michelacci, 2012. "Inequality in Unemployment Risk and in Wages," 2012 Meeting Papers 794, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    18. Tejada, Mauricio M., 2016. "Lifetime inequality measures for an emerging economy: The case of Chile," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 1-15.
    19. David Turchick, 2014. "Job Search and Earnings Mobility," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2014_16, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    20. Walentin Karl, 2010. "Earnings Inequality and the Equity Premium," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-23, November.
    21. Bosmans, Kristof & Decancq, Koen & Ooghe, Erwin, 2015. "What do normative indices of multidimensional inequality really measure?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 94-104.
    22. Bonhomme, Stéphane & Robin, Jean-Marc, 2008. "Articles : Conférence François-Albert-Angers – 2008 - La mesure des inégalités de long terme avec des panels courts : 1990-2000," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 84(4), pages 325-363, Décembre.
    23. Stéphane Bonhomme & Jean-Marc Robin, 2008. "La mesure des inégalités de long terme avec des panels courts : 1990-2000," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/f0uohitsgqh, Sciences Po.
    24. Emmanuel Saez & Michael R. Veall, 2005. "The Evolution of High Incomes in Northern America: Lessons from Canadian Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 831-849, June.

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