Wage Mobility in the United States
This paper examines the mobility of individuals through the wage and earnings distributions. This is of extreme importance since mobility has a direct implication for the way one views the vast changes in wage and earnings inequality in the United States over the last few decades. The measures of wage and earnings mobility analyzed are based on data for individuals surveyed in the National Longitudinal Survey for Youth from 1979 to 1991. We introduce summary measures of mobility computed over varying time horizons in order to examine how the effect on measured inequality as the time horizon is increased. The results suggest that mobility is predominantly within group mobility and increases most rapidly when the time horizon is extended up to four years, reducing wage inequality by 12-26%. We proceed therefore with more detailed examination of short-term (year-to-year) within group mobility, by estimating non-parametrically transition probabilities among quintiles of the distribution. We find that the staying probabilities, by quintiles, were higher at the higher quintiles throughout the period for both wages and earnings, and that mobility is declining over time. Hence, this paper suggests that while the level of wage inequality in the United States is somewhat lower once mobility is taken into account, the sharp increase in inequality during the 1980's is worse than it appears, due to falling mobility over time.
|Date of creation:||Feb 1996|
|Publication status:||published as Review of Economics and Statistics, (August 1999).|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
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.:
- Lillard, Lee A & Willis, Robert J, 1978.
"Dynamic Aspects of Earning Mobility,"
Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 985-1012, September.
- Lee A. Lillard & Robert J. Willis, 1976. "Dynamic Aspects of Earnings Mobility," NBER Working Papers 0150, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Maasoumi, Esfandiar & Zandvakili, Sourushe, 1990. "Generalized entropy measures of mobility for different sexes and income levels," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1-2), pages 121-133.
- Bound, John & Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "The Extent of Measurement Error in Longitudinal Earnings Data: Do Two Wrongs Make a Right?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 1-24, January.
- John Bound & Alan B. Krueger, 1988. "The Extent of Measurement Error in Longitudinal Earnings Data: Do Two Wrongs Make a Right?," Working Papers 620, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- John Bound & Alan B. Krueger, 1989. "The Extent of Measurement Error In Longitudinal Earnings Data: Do Two Wrongs Make A Right?," NBER Working Papers 2885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jonathan Morduch & Terry Sicular, 2002. "Rethinking Inequality Decomposition, With Evidence from Rural China," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 93-106, January.
- Jonathan Morduch & Terry Sicular, 1998. "Rethinking Inequality Decomposition, with Evidence from Rural China," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1831, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
- Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1984. "Inequality Decomposition by Population Subgroups," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1369-1385, November.
- 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 1333-1381, September.
- Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-445, March.
- John M. Abowd & David Card, 1986. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," NBER Working Papers 1832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bound, John, et al, 1994. "Evidence on the Validity of Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Labor Market Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(3), pages 345-368, July. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5455. 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.