Not a Hollowing Out, a Stretching: Trends in U.S. Nonmetro Wage Income Distribution, 1961-2003
Much of the U.S. labor economics literature asserts that U.S. wage income inequality increased in the last half of the 20th century. These papers point to two trends: 1) the increasing dispersion in U.S. wage incomes, and 2) the rapid growth in the relative frequency of large wage incomes of fixed size in constant dollar terms. A subset of the labor economics literature interprets these trends as a hollowing out of the wage income distribution. A hollowing out would yield fewer middling wage incomes. Since nonmetro wage incomes have, historically, been smaller than metro wage incomes, a hollowing out might disproportionately displace nonmetro wage incomes into the left mode of the hollowed out distribution, that of small wage incomes. However, there was no hollowing out of the nonmetro wage income distribution between 1961 and 2003. While trends #1 and #2 exist in U.S. nonmetro wage income data, they are aspects of the stretching of the distribution of nonmetro wage incomes to the right over larger wage incomes as all its percentiles increased between 1961 and 2003. This stretching means that all nonmetro wage income percentiles increase simultaneously with greater proportional growth in the smaller percentiles. The literature focused on the greater absolute gains of the larger percentiles and took them as evidence of growing inequality. This paper shows for nonmetro wage incomes in the U.S. that those gains are but one aspect of the stretching of the distribution and that other aspects of this transformation might as easily be taken as evidence of growing equality.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2006|
|Date of revision:||18 Aug 2008|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany|
Web page: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
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.:
- 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.
- Coder, John & Rainwater, Lee & Smeeding, Timothy M, 1989. "Inequality among Children and Elderly in Ten Modern Nations: The United States in an International Context," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 320-324, May.
- Leslie Mccall, 2000. "Explaining levels of within-group wage inequality in U.S. labor markets," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 37(4), pages 415-430, November.
- Esteban, J.M. & Ray, D., 1992.
"On the Measurement of Polarization,"
UFAE and IAE Working Papers
171.92, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
- Joan-Maria Esteban & Debraj Ray, 1991. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 18, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
- Esteban, J. & Ray, D., 1993. "On the Measurement of Polarization," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 221.93, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
- Dooley, Martin D & Gottschalk, Peter, 1984. "Earnings Inequality among Males in the United States: Trends and the Effect of Labor Force Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 59-89, February.
- Danziger, Sheldon & Gottschalk, Peter, 1986. "Do Rising Tides Lift All Boats? The Impact of Secular and Cyclical Changes on Poverty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 405-410, May.
- E. Samanidou & E. Zschischang & D. Stauffer & T. Lux, 2007. "Agent-based Models of Financial Markets," Papers physics/0701140, arXiv.org.
- Kahn, Lawrence M, 1998. "Collective Bargaining and the Interindustry Wage Structure: International Evidence," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(260), pages 507-534, November.
- Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1999. "Conflict and Distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 379-415, August.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:10111. 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: (Joachim Winter)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.