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Long-Run Inequality and Annual Instability of Men's and Women's Earnings in Canada

Author

Listed:
  • Charles Beach

    () (Queen's University)

  • Ross Finnie

    (Queen's University and Statisics Canada)

  • David Gray

    (University of Ottawa)

Abstract

This paper examines the variability of workers' earnings in Canada over the 1982-to-2000 period by a graphical descriptive approach using the Longitudinal Administrative Data base file. Following Gottschalk and Moffitt (1994), we decompose the total variance of workers' earnings into a 'permanent' or long-run component between workers and a 'transitory' or year-to-year earnings instability component over time for given workers. The decomposition is applied to a five-year moving window. Several results are found. First, the general rise in total earnings variance over the period reflects quite different patterns of change for its separate components. Long-run earnings inequality has generally increased over the period, while year-to-year earnings instability has pretty steadily decreased. Changes in the total earnings variability have been driven primarily by changes in long-run earnings inequality. Second, the patterns of change in the two variance components showed substantial differences between men and women. Since the early 1990s, long-run earnings inequality continued to rise for men, but it markedly decreased for women. Since the late 1980s, earnings instability fell quite steadily for women, but it showed a more cyclical pattern for men. Third, the patterns across ages of the two variance components are almost opposite. Long-run earnings inequality generally rises with age, so it is markedly highest among older-age workers. Earnings instability, in contrast, generally declines with age, so it is markedly highest among entry-age workers.
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Suggested Citation

  • Charles Beach & Ross Finnie & David Gray, 2006. "Long-Run Inequality and Annual Instability of Men's and Women's Earnings in Canada," Working Papers 1116, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:1116
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    File URL: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/working_papers/papers/qed_wp_1116.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
    2. Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1994. "The Growth of Earnings Instability in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 217-272.
    3. Baker, Michael, 1997. "Growth-Rate Heterogeneity and the Covariance Structure of Life-Cycle Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 338-375, April.
    4. Gottschald, Peter T, 1982. "Earnings Mobility: Permanent Change or Transitory Fluctuations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(3), pages 450-456, August.
    5. Beach, Charles M. & Finnie, Ross & Gray, David, 2006. "The Impact of Macroeconomic Conditions on the Instability and Long-Run Inequality of Workers' Earnings in Canada," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2006268e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    6. David H. Richardson, 1997. "Changes in the Distribution of Wages in Canada, 1981-1992," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(3), pages 622-643, August.
    7. Robert A. Moffitt & Peter Gottschalk, 2002. "Trends in the Transitory Variance of Earnings in the United States," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages 68-73, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sisi Zhang, 2010. "Recent Trends in Household Income Dynamics for the United States, Germany and Great Britain," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 30(2), pages 1154-1172.
    2. Paula Garda & Volker Ziemann, 2014. "Economic Policies and Microeconomic Stability: A Literature Review and Some Empirics," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1115, OECD Publishing.
    3. El Benni, Nadja & Finger, Robert & Mann, Stefan, 2012. "The effect of agricultural policy change on income risk in Swiss agriculture," 123rd Seminar, February 23-24, 2012, Dublin, Ireland 122532, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    4. Robert Moffitt & Peter Gottschalk, 2008. "Trends in the Transitory Variance of Male Earnings in the U.S., 1970-2004," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 697, Boston College Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    earnings inequality; earnings instability; long-run inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General

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