IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Wage Inequality and Industrial Change: Evidence from Five Decades

  • Chinhui Juhn

Using data from the 1940-1980 Decennial Census and the 1988-1992 March Current Population Surveys, this paper examines the impact of industrial change on male wage inequality over a period of five decades (1940-1990). Alternative measures of skill such as the wage percentile, education and occupation indicate that wage inequality between more and less skilled male workers fell substantially during the 1940s and increased most dramatically during the 1980s. Examination of industrial change over this longer time period shows that the demand for the most highly educated and skilled male workers relative to the least skilled male workers increased no faster during the 1970s and the 1980s than during the earlier decades. In contrast, the demand for men in the middle skill categories (such as those in basic manufacturing) expanded during the 1940s and the 1950s and contracted severely during the 1970s and 1980s. This suggests that the growth of jobs in the middle skill categories may be closely related to overall wage inequality. Cross sectional regressions based on state level data also show some empirical support for the hypothesis that a decline in demand for medium skilled groups increases overall wage inequality.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4684.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4684.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Mar 1994
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Industrial Labor Relations Review, Vol. 52 (April 1999).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4684
Note: LS
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. Richard B. Freeman, 1975. "Overinvestment in College Training?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 10(3), pages 287-311.
  2. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 1997. "Unemployment and Nonemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 295-300, May.
  3. George J. Borjas & Valerie A. Ramey, 1993. "Foreign Competition, Market Power and Wage Inequality: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Katz, Lawrence F. & Revenga, Ana L., 1989. "Changes in the structure of wages: The United States vs Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 522-553, December.
  5. John Bound & Harry J. Holzer, 1991. "Industrial Shifts, Skills Levels, and the Labor Market for White and Black Males," NBER Working Papers 3715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-81, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4684. 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 you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.