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Accounting for Changes in Between-Group Inequality

Author

Listed:
  • Ariel Burstein
  • Eduardo Morales
  • Jonathan Vogel

Abstract

We perform a quantitative analysis of observed changes in U.S. between-group inequality between 1984 and 2003. We use an assignment framework with many labor groups, equipment types, and occupations in which changes in inequality are caused by changes in workforce composition, occupation demand, computerization, and labor productivity. We parameterize our model using direct measures of computer usage within labor group-occupation pairs and quantify the impact of each shock for various measures of between-group inequality. We find, for instance, that the combination of computerization and shifts in occupation demand account for roughly 80% of the rise in the skill premium, with computerization alone accounting for roughly 60%. We show theoretically how computerization and changes in occupation demand may be caused by international trade and quantify the impact of trade in computers on U.S. inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Ariel Burstein & Eduardo Morales & Jonathan Vogel, 2015. "Accounting for Changes in Between-Group Inequality," NBER Working Papers 20855, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20855
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Joseph S. Shapiro & Reed Walker, 2018. "Why Is Pollution from US Manufacturing Declining? The Roles of Environmental Regulation, Productivity, and Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(12), pages 3814-3854, December.
    2. Hemous, David & Olsen, Morten, 2014. "The Rise of the Machines: Automation, Horizontal Innovation and Income Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 10244, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Ezra Oberfield & Devesh Raval, 2012. "Micro data and macro technology," Working Paper Series WP-2012-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    4. Lee, Eunhee & Yi, Kei-Mu, 2018. "Global value chains and inequality with endogenous labor supply," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 223-241.
    5. Pablo D. Fajgelbaum & Amit K. Khandelwal, 2016. "Measuring the Unequal Gains from Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(3), pages 1113-1180.
    6. repec:eee:jetheo:v:172:y:2017:i:c:p:202-219 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Jerez, Belén, 2017. "Competitive search equilibrium with multidimensional heterogeneity and two-sided ex-ante investments," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 202-219.
    8. Joseph S. Shapiro & Reed Walker, 2015. "Why is Pollution from U.S. Manufacturing Declining? The Roles of Trade, Regulation, Productivity, and Preferences," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1982R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Sep 2016.
    9. Christian vom Lehn, 2015. "Labor Market Polarization, the Decline of Routine Work, and Technological Change: A Quantitative Evaluation," 2015 Meeting Papers 151, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. repec:eee:inecon:v:114:y:2018:i:c:p:346-361 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:eee:moneco:v:97:y:2018:i:c:p:48-67 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Shapiro, Joseph S. & Walker, Reed, 2015. "Why is Pollution from U.S. Manufacturing Declining? The Roles of Trade, Regulation, Productivity, and Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 8789, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Archawa Paweenawat & Robert M. Townsend, 2019. "The Impact of Regional Isolationism: Disentangling Real and Financial Factors," PIER Discussion Papers 109, Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research, revised May 2019.
    14. Muendler, Marc-Andreas, 2017. "Trade, technology, and prosperity: An account of evidence from a labor-market perspective," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2017-15, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor

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