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Wage Inequality in the United Kingdom, 1975-99

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  • Prasad, Eswar

    () (Cornell University)

Abstract

This paper uses micro data from the New Earnings Survey to document that cross-sectional wage inequality in the U.K., which rose sharply in the 1980s and continued to rise moderately through the mid-1990s, has remained essentially unchanged in the latter half of the 1990s. As in the U.S., changes in within-group inequality are shown to account for a substantial fraction of the rise in wage dispersion that has occurred over the last 25 years. However, shifts in the structure of employment – including changes in the occupational and industrial composition of aggregate employment – are also shown to have had important effects on the evolution of wage inequality. In addition, there has been a significant convergence of the wage distributions for men and women; this has had a stabilizing effect on the overall wage distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Prasad, Eswar, 2002. "Wage Inequality in the United Kingdom, 1975-99," IZA Discussion Papers 510, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp510
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Eswar S. Prasad, 2004. "The Unbearable Stability of the German Wage Structure: Evidence and Interpretation," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(2), pages 354-385.
    2. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter & Violante, Giovanni L, 2000. "General Purpose Technology and Within-Group Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 2474, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Nickell, Stephen & Bell, Brian, 1996. "Changes in the Distribution of Wages and Unemployment in OECD Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 302-308, May.
    4. 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.
    5. Krugman, Paul R., 2000. "Technology, trade and factor prices," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 51-71, February.
    6. Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
    7. Thomas Lemieux & Nicole M. Fortin, 2000. "Are Women's Wage Gains Men's Losses? A Distributional Test," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 456-460, May.
    8. Dickens, Richard, 2000. "The Evolution of Individual Male Earnings in Great Britain: 1975-95," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(460), pages 27-49, January.
    9. Siebert, Horst, 1997. "Labor market rigidities and unemployment in Europe," Kiel Working Papers 787, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    10. Stephen Machin & John Van Reenen, 1998. "Technology and Changes in Skill Structure: Evidence from Seven OECD Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1215-1244.
    11. repec:nsr:niesrd:45 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-442, June.
    13. Horst Siebert, 1997. "Labor Market Rigidities: At the Root of Unemployment in Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 37-54, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Brewer, Mike & Wren-Lewis, Liam, 2012. "Accounting for changes in income inequality: decomposition analyses for Great Britain, 1968-2009," ISER Working Paper Series 2012-17, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    2. Peng, Fei & Kang, Lili, 2013. "Cyclical changes in the wage structure of the United Kingdom: a historical review of the GHS 1972-2002," MPRA Paper 47210, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Mike Brewer & Liam Wren-Lewis, 2016. "Accounting for Changes in Income Inequality: Decomposition Analyses for the UK, 1978–2008," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 78(3), pages 289-322, June.
    4. Andrea Borgarello & Francesco Devicienti, 2002. "What Accounts For the Rise in Wage Inequality in Italy? Evidence from Administrative Matched Employer-Employee Data, 1985-1996," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 18, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    micro survey data; cross-sectional wage inequality; between- and within-group inequality; composition effects;

    JEL classification:

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

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