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Fixed Cost, Number of Firms, and Skill Premium: An Alternative Source for Rising Wage Inequality

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  • Kurokawa, Yoshinori

Abstract

The number of firms and the wage inequality increased in U.S. manufacturing industries after the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the so-called "Carter/Reagan deregulation" was implemented. This paper provides a possible theoretical explanation for this observed relationship between the number of firms and the wage inequality on the basis of fixed cost. By modifying a variety model, we show that lowering the fixed cost of entry increases the variety of inputs used by the final good. The skill premium then rises through variety-skill complementarity. Our model also shows that the size of a firm decreases and the real wage of low-skilled labor does not necessarily decline, which are compatible with U.S. observations.

Suggested Citation

  • Kurokawa, Yoshinori, 2008. "Fixed Cost, Number of Firms, and Skill Premium: An Alternative Source for Rising Wage Inequality," MPRA Paper 14014, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:14014
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tito Boeri & Giuseppe Nicoletti & Stefano Scarpetta, "undated". "Regulation and Labour Market Performance," Working Papers 158, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
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    Cited by:

    1. Zhang, Jingjing, 2012. "Inflow of labour, producer services and wage inequality," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 600-603.
    2. Zhang, Jingjing, 2015. "International factor mobility, elasticity of substitution in production and the skilled–unskilled wage gap," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 122-129.
    3. Yoshinori Kurokawa, 2014. "A Simple Model of Competition Policies, Trade, and the Skill Premium," Tsukuba Economics Working Papers 2014-002, Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba, revised Sep 2017.
    4. Zhang, Jingjing, 2013. "Factor mobility and skilled–unskilled wage inequality in the presence of internationally traded product varieties," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 579-585.
    5. Manoj Atolia & Yoshinori Kurokawa, 2014. "Entry Costs, Task Variety, and Skill Flexibility: A Simple Theory of (Top) Income Skewness," Tsukuba Economics Working Papers 2014-001, Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba, revised Apr 2015.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fixed cost; The number of firms; Skill premium; Variety-skill complementarity;

    JEL classification:

    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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