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Labor Earnings Mobility and Inequality in the United States and Germany During the Growth Years of the 1980s

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  • Richard V. Burkhauser
  • Douglas Holtz-Eakin
  • Stephen E. Rhody

Abstract

Recent years have witnessed increased interest in issues of inequality and mobility in the labor market. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and the German Socio-Economic Panel, we compare the labor earnings mobility of prime age men and women in the United States and Germany during the growth years of the 1980s. Despite major differences in labor market institutions we find very similar patterns in the two countries. Our formal models of labor earnings dynamics suggest a great deal of persistence in both countries. In the United States this may derive from permanent individual-specific differences among men, while in Germany random shocks are found to persist longer for men. Women in Germany and the United States have similar earnings dynamics.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard V. Burkhauser & Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Stephen E. Rhody, 1997. "Labor Earnings Mobility and Inequality in the United States and Germany During the Growth Years of the 1980s," NBER Working Papers 5988, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5988
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    Cited by:

    1. Dimitris Pavlopoulos & Ruud Muffels & Jeroen Vermunt, 2010. "Wage mobility in Europe. A comparative analysis using restricted multinomial logit regression," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 115-129, January.
    2. Scott Drewianka, 2010. "Cross-Sectional Variation In Individuals' Earnings Instability," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 56(2), pages 291-326, June.
    3. Chen, Tao & Couch, Kenneth A., 2013. "Permanent and transitory inequality and intragenerational mobility," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(2), pages 200-202.
    4. Ana Cardoso & Shoshana Neuman & Adrian Ziderman, 2010. "Wage Mobility in Israel: The Effect of Sectoral Concentration," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 146-161, June.
    5. Cardoso, Ana Rute, 2006. "Wage mobility: do institutions make a difference?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 387-404, June.
    6. C. Schluter & D. Van De Gaer, 2008. "Structural Mobility, Exchange Mobility and Subgroup Consistent Mobility Measurement – US–German Mobility Measurements Revisited," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 08/543, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    7. Zandvakili, Sourushe, 2000. "Dynamics of earnings inequality among female-headed households in the United States," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 73-89.
    8. Jantti, Markus & Jenkins, Stephen P., 2013. "Income mobility," ISER Working Paper Series 2013-23, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    9. Gernandt, Johannes, 2009. "Decreasing wage mobility in Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-044, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    10. Aretz, Bodo, 2013. "Gender Differences in German Wage Mobility," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80003, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Nisar Ahmad & Rayhaneh Esmaeilzadeh, 2009. "Immigrant-Native Differences in Earnings Mobility Processes: Evidence from Canadian and Danish Data," Economics Working Papers 2009-13, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    12. Jantti, Markus & Saari, Juho & Vartiainen, Juhana, 2006. "Growth and Equity in Finland," WIDER Working Paper Series DP2006/06, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    13. Aristei, David & Perugini, Cristiano, 2015. "The drivers of income mobility in Europe," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 197-224.
    14. Birgitta Jansson, 2014. "Intragenerational Income Mobility in Gothenburg, Sweden, 1925–94: Before, during, and after the Rise of the Welfare State," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 54(1), pages 14-36, March.
    15. Formby, John P. & Smith, W. James & Zheng, Buhong, 2004. "Mobility measurement, transition matrices and statistical inference," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 120(1), pages 181-205, May.
    16. Crawford, Ron, 2009. "Variations in earnings growth: evidence from earnings transitions in the NZ Linked Income Survey," ISER Working Paper Series 2009-18, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    17. Daly, Mary C. & Valletta, Robert G., 2008. "Cross-national trends in earnings inequality and instability," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 215-219, May.
    18. Richard V. Burkhauser & Timothy M. Smeeding, 2000. "Microdata Panel Data and Public Policy: National and Cross-National Perspectives," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 23, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
    19. Yamauchi K., Futoshi, 2001. "Does inequality of labor earnings emerge in young days or later? : Labor earnings dynamics and learning about individual ability in heterogeneous society," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 413-434, April.
    20. Bachmann, Ronald & Beimann, Boris & Bredtmann, Julia & David, Peggy & Ehlert, Christoph & Kassenböhmer, Sonja & Schaffner, Sandra & Siemers, Lars, 2011. "Studies on flexicurity Lot 1: Study on various aspects of labour market performance using micro data from the European Union statistics on income and living conditions (EU-SILC). Contract No. VC/2010/," RWI Projektberichte, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, number 72620.
    21. Finnie, Ross & Gray, David, 2002. "Earnings dynamics in Canada: an econometric analysis," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(6), pages 763-800, December.
    22. Lisa M. Dragoset & Gary S. Fields, 2006. "U.S. Earnings Mobility: Comparing Survey-Based and Administrative-Based Estimates," Working Papers 55, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    23. GRIES, Thomas & PALNAU, Irene, 2016. "Distress Beyond Poverty: Spatial Patterns And Geographic Aspects Of Vulnerability In Brazil," Regional and Sectoral Economic Studies, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 16(2), pages 53-70.
    24. Charles M. Beach & Ross Finnie, 2001. "Cyclical Changes in Short-Run Earnings Mobility in Canada, 1982-1996," The State of Economics in Canada: Festschrift in Honour of David Slater,in: Patrick Grady & Andrew Sharpe (ed.), The State of Economics in Canada: Festschrift in Honour of David Slater, pages 453-484 Centre for the Study of Living Standards.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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