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Sources of Earnings Instability: Estimates from an On-the-Job Search Model of the U.S. Labor Market

Listed author(s):
  • Flabbi, Luca

    ()

    (Inter-American Development Bank)

  • Leonardi, Marco

    ()

    (University of Milan)

Many contributions suggest that earnings instability has increased during the 1980s and 1990s. This paper develops and estimates an on-the-job search model of the labor market to study the contribution of wage inequality and job mobility in explaining earnings instability. To study the evolution over time of these different components we extract two estimation samples (late 1980s and late1990s) from the Calendar Section of the PSID. We find that the main differences in the structure of the labor market between the two periods are in the job-to-job mobility and in the variance of the wage offer distributions: they both increase in the late 1990s. By generating counterfactual experiments, we also show that they both significantly contribute to the increase in earnings instability even if it is only their joint effect that generates what we observe in the data. Finally, we show that significant composition effects are at work since the behavior of skilled workers and unskilled workers are very different with respect to the above-mentioned labor market dynamics.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3387.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2008
Publication status: published in: European Economic Review, 2010, 54 (6), 832-854
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3387
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  2. Luca Flabbi, 2010. "Gender Discrimination Estimation In A Search Model With Matching And Bargaining," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(3), pages 745-783, 08.
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  8. Bertola, Giuseppe & Ichino, Andrea, 1995. "Wage Inequality and Unemployment: US vs Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 1186, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2000. "Ability-Biased Technological Transition, Wage Inequality, and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 469-497.
  10. Jolivet, Gregory & Postel-Vinay, Fabien & Robin, Jean-Marc, 2006. "The empirical content of the job search model: Labor mobility and wage distributions in Europe and the US," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 877-907, May.
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  16. 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.
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  18. Francesco Caselli, 1999. "Technological Revolutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 78-102, March.
  19. Moscarini, Giuseppe & Thomsson, Kaj, 2006. "Occupational and Job Mobility in the US," Working Papers 19, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  20. Gottschalk, Peter & Moffitt, Robert, 1999. "Changes in Job Instability and Insecurity Using Monthly Survey Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 91-126, October.
  21. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2008. "Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Revising the Revisionists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 300-323, May.
  22. Jaeger, David A. & Stevens, Ann Huff, 1999. "Is Job Stability in the United States Falling?," IZA Discussion Papers 35, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  23. Robert A. Moffitt & Peter Gottschalk, 2002. "Trends in the Transitory Variance of Earnings in the United States," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages 68-73, March.
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  25. Bernhardt, Annette, et al, 1999. "Trends in Job Instability and Wages for Young Adult Men," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 65-90, October.
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