Changes in the Structure of Wages During the 1980's: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations
Between 1979 and 1987 there were three significant changes in the wage structure in the United States. the pecuniary returns to schooling increased by about a third; the wages of older relative to younger workers with relatively low education increased to some extent; and the wages of women relative to men rose by almost ten percent. It is important for policy purposes to know why these changes occurred and whether they are temporary or permanent. The paper investigates several alternative explanations of these wage structure phenomena, including the most popular ones that their principal causes were shifts in the structure of product demand, skilled-labor saving technological change, and changes in the incidence and level of rents received by lower skilled workers. our reading of the evidence suggests that the major cause of the dramatic movements in the wage structure during the 1980's may have been some combination of changes in both production technology and the average relative nonobserved quality of different labor groups.
|Date of creation:||May 1989|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as American Economic Review, 82:_371-92, June 1992|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Richard B. Freeman, 1979.
"The Effect of Demographic Factors on Age-Earnings Profiles,"
Journal of Human Resources,
University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(3), pages 289-318.
- Richard B. Freeman, 1979. "The Effect of Demographic Factors on Age-Earnings Profiles," NBER Working Papers 0316, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- William T. Dickens & Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Interindustry Wage Differences and Industry Characteristics," NBER Working Papers 2014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2983. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.