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Cyclical changes in the wage structure of the United Kingdom: a historical review of the GHS 1972-2002


  • Peng, Fei
  • Kang, Lili


This paper aims to investigate the cyclical changes in the wage structure of the United Kingdom over the period 1972-2002 using the General Household Survey (GHS). Wage structure of the UK shows a cyclical pattern, which may be from the different wage cyclicality of the top, middle and bottom percentile groups. Higher educated male workers have experienced a faster growth of the education premiums so that the wages of males have become more dispersed after the 1970s. However, female workers with only primary education have faster wage growth than higher educated ones. Moreover, the experience premiums of females have grown faster than males and become similar to males in recent years. Changes in the skill endowments and market valuation can account for the cyclical changes in female earnings structure over the entire period. The residual earnings inequality accounts for more than half changes in overall earnings inequality of males, which cannot be explained by changes in skill endowments and market returns. The evolution of the wage structure, including changes in gender gap, overall wage inequality, skill premiums as well as residual wage inequality are affected by business cycle.

Suggested Citation

  • Peng, Fei & Kang, Lili, 2013. "Cyclical changes in the wage structure of the United Kingdom: a historical review of the GHS 1972-2002," MPRA Paper 47210, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:47210

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    Cited by:

    1. Peng, Fei & Kang, Lili, 2013. "Market Mechanism and Skill Premiums in the UK 1972-2002," MPRA Paper 50195, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    wage inequality; skill premiums; business cycle;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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