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The Great Compression of the French Wage Structure, 1969-2008

  • Verdugo, Gregory

    ()

    (Bank of France)

Wage inequality decreased continuously in France from 1969 to 2008. In contrast to the US and the UK, this period was also characterised by a substantial increase in the educational attainment of the labour force. This paper investigates whether differences in the timing of educational expansion over the last forty years can explain the divergent evolution of upper tail wage inequality in France relative to other countries. Using a model with imperfect substitution between experience groups, the estimates suggest that the rapid increase in the supply of educated workers during the 1970s and 1990s produced a substantial decline in the skill premium within cohorts. As a result, between a third and half of the decline in wage inequality at the top of the distribution in France during this period is explained by the increase in the educational attainment of the labour force.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 8088.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2014
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Labour Economics, 2014, 28, 131-144
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8088
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  1. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-44, September.
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  3. Dominique Goux & Eric Maurin, 1998. "The Decline in Demand for Unskilled Labor : An Empirical Analysis Method and its Application to France," Working Papers 98-53, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  4. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2000. "Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," NBER Working Papers 7655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Herbert Brücker & Elke J. Jahn, 2011. "Migration and Wage‐setting: Reassessing the Labor Market Effects of Migration," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 113, pages 286-317, 06.
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  9. Goldin, Claudia & Margo, Robert A, 1992. "The Great Compression: The Wage Structure in the United States at Mid-century," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 1-34, February.
  10. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1991. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," NBER Working Papers 3927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Gregory Verdugo & Henri Fraisse & Guillaume Horny, 2012. "Évolution des inégalités salariales en France. Le rôle des effets de composition," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 63(6), pages 1081-1112.
  12. Raquel Carrasco & Juan F. Jimeno & A. Carolina Ortega, 2012. "Declining returns to skill and the distribution of wages : Spain 1995-2006," Economics Working Papers we1231, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  13. Ian Walker & Yu Zhu, 2008. "The College Wage Premium and the Expansion of Higher Education in the UK," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(4), pages 695-709, December.
  14. Francis Kramarz & Thomas Philippon, 2000. "The Impact of Differenctial Payroll Tax Subsidies on Minimum Wage Employment," Working Papers 2000-10, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  15. Cette, Gilbert & Chouard, Valérie & Verdugo, Gregory, 2013. "Minimum Wage and the Average Wage in France: A Circular Relationship?," IZA Discussion Papers 7502, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-95, October.
  17. Hyeok Jeong & Yong Kim & Iourii Manovskii, 2014. "The Price of Experience," NBER Working Papers 20457, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  26. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-00353892 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. SErgio Firpo & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Unconditional Quantile Regressions," Textos para discussão 533, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
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