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Reconciling the Divergence in Aggregate U.S. Wage Series

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  • Champagne, Julien

    (Bank of Canada)

  • Kurmann, Andre

    (Drexel University)

  • Stewart, Jay

    (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Abstract

According to data from the Labor Productivity and Costs (LPC) program, average hourly real compensation in the United States has grown consistently over time and become markedly more volatile since the mid-1980s. By contrast, data from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) imply that average hourly real earnings has mostly stagnated and become substantially less volatile. We show that differences in earnings concept and differences in worker coverage account for the majority of this divergence in growth and volatility. The results have important implications for the appropriate choice of aggregate wage series for macroeconomic analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Champagne, Julien & Kurmann, Andre & Stewart, Jay, 2016. "Reconciling the Divergence in Aggregate U.S. Wage Series," IZA Discussion Papers 9754, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9754
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    Cited by:

    1. Maya Eden & Paul Gaggl, 2018. "On the Welfare Implications of Automation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 29, pages 15-43, July.
    2. Julien Champagne, 2015. "The Carrot and the Stick: The Business Cycle Implications of Incentive Pay in the Labor Search Model," Staff Working Papers 15-35, Bank of Canada.
    3. Hahn, Joyce K. & Hyatt, Henry R. & Janicki, Hubert P., 2021. "Job ladders and growth in earnings, hours, and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    4. Henry R. Hyatt & Tucker S. McElroy, 2019. "Labor Reallocation, Employment, and Earnings: Vector Autoregression Evidence," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 33(4), pages 463-487, December.
    5. Henry R. Hyatt & Tucker S. McElroy, 2017. "Labor Reallocation, Employment, and Earnings: Vector Autoregression Evidence," Working Papers 17-11r, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    6. David M. Williams, 2021. "Pay and Productivity in Canada: Growing Together, Only Slower than Ever," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 40, pages 3-26, Spring.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    comparison of hourly earnings data; earnings trends; earnings volatility;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General

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