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The Fortune of One's Birth: Relative Cohort Size and the Youth Labor Market in the United States

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Using two different measures of relative cohort size--one indicating the size and placement of an individual's own birth cohort, and the other the ratio of young to prime-age adults in the United States in that year--it has been possible to isolate strong effects of the population age structure on wages in the United States over the past 33 years. These effects have been strong enough that virtually all of the observed change in the experience premium, and a substantial proportion of the changes in the college wage premium, can be explained by the relative cohort size variables alone. Even changes in the amount of within-group variance in wages appear to be largely a function of changing age structure, and absolute wage levels have been strongly affected by these demographic changes, suggesting that population growth can have positive effects on the economy.

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  • Diane Macunovich, 1999. "The Fortune of One's Birth: Relative Cohort Size and the Youth Labor Market in the United States," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 6, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  • Handle: RePEc:max:cprwps:6
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    Cited by:

    1. Alfred Garloff & Carsten Pohl & Norbert Schanne, 2013. "Do small labor market entry cohorts reduce unemployment?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 29(15), pages 379-406, September.
    2. Maarten Lindeboom & France Portrait & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2003. "Individual Mortality and Macro-Economic Conditions from Birth to Death," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 03-072/3, Tinbergen Institute, revised 14 Oct 2003.
    3. Tim Slack & Leif Jensen, 2008. "Birth and Fortune Revisited: A Cohort Analysis of Underemployment, 1974–2004," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 27(6), pages 729-749, December.
    4. Macunovich, Diane J., 2009. "Older Men: Pushed into Retirement by the Baby Boomers?," IZA Discussion Papers 4652, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Michael R. Smith, 2001. "Technological Change, the Demand for Skills, and the Adequacy of their Supply," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 27(1), pages 1-22, March.
    6. Dahlberg, Susanne & Nahum, Ruth-Aïda, 2003. "Cohort Effects on Earnings Profiles: Evidence from Sweden," Working Paper Series 2003:11, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    7. Diane J. Macunovich, 2000. "Relative Cohort Size: Source of a Unifying Theory of Global Fertility Transition?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 26(2), pages 235-261.
    8. Michael Gebel & Friedhelm Pfeiffer, 2010. "Educational Expansion and Its Heterogeneous Returns for Wage Workers," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 130(1), pages 19-42.
    9. Macunovich, Diane J., 2009. "Older Women: Pushed into Retirement by the Baby Boomers?," IZA Discussion Papers 4653, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Bernhard Boockmann & Viktor Steiner, 2006. "Cohort effects and the returns to education in West Germany," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(10), pages 1135-1152.
    11. Okoampah, Sarah, 2016. "Cohort size effects on wages, working status, and work time," Ruhr Economic Papers 629, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    12. Morin, Louis-Philippe, 2015. "Cohort size and youth earnings: Evidence from a quasi-experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 99-111.
    13. Dietrich, Hans, 2015. "Jugendarbeitslosigkeit aus einer europäischen Perspektive : theoretische Ansätze, empirische Konzepte und ausgewählte Befunde," IAB Discussion Paper 201524, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    14. Alfred Garloff & Carsten Pohl & Norbert Schanne, 2011. "Do smaller labour market entry cohorts really reduce German unemployment?," ERSA conference papers ersa10p658, European Regional Science Association.
    15. Matthew Higgins & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 1999. "Explaining inequality the world round: cohort size, Kuznets curves, and openness," Staff Reports 79, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    16. Thomas Flochel & Yuki Ikeda & Harry Moroz & Nithin Umapathi, 2014. "Macroeconomic Implications of Aging in East Asia Pacific," World Bank Other Operational Studies 23026, The World Bank.
    17. Paraskevi Salamaliki & Ioannis Venetis & Nicholas Giannakopoulos, 2013. "The causal relationship between female labor supply and fertility in the USA: updated evidence via a time series multi-horizon approach," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(1), pages 109-145, January.
    18. Clémentine Garrouste & Mathilde Godard, 2015. "The Lasting Health Impact of Leaving School in a Bad Economy: Britons in the 1970s Recession," Working Papers halshs-01521916, HAL.
    19. repec:dau:papers:123456789/14542 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Diane Macunovich, 1999. "The Role of Relative Cohort Size and Relative Income in the Demographic Transition," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 9, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
    21. Diane Macunovich, 1999. "The Baby Boom As It Ages: How Has It Affected Patterns of Consumptions and Savings in the United States?," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 7, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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