Reconciling the divergence in aggregate U.S. wage series
This paper documents the gradual divergence in trend growth and business cycle volatility of two popular aggregate hourly wage series for the U.S. economy: average hourly compensation from the Labor Productivity and Cost (LPC) program and average hourly earnings from the Current Employment Statistics (CES). While the LPC wage increased by about 70% over the past four decades and became markedly more volatile starting in the 1980s, the CES wage grew by only about 20% over the same period and experienced a large drop in volatility post-1980. We establish that the divergence between the two aggregate hourly wage series is due to the different evolution of average labor earnings. Average hours worked, by contrast, evolve very similarly. We then use labor earnings data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs), and Piketty and Saez (2003) in an attempt to reconcile the divergence between LPC and CES labor earnings. Our analysis indicates that differences in earnings concept and population coverage can account for a large part of the divergence. Our analysis also shows that earnings differences between the CPS and the LPC can be attributed almost entirely to earnings of high-income individuals and supplements such as employer contributions to pension and health plans, which are included in the LPC but not in the CPS. This result is interesting in its own right given the widespread use of micro earnings data from the CPS in cross-sectional studies.
|Date of creation:||2014|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA|
Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Jordi Galí & Thijs van Rens, 2008.
"The vanishing procyclicality of labor productivity,"
Economics Working Papers
1230, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2010.
- Gali, Jordi & van Rens, Thijs, 2015. "The Vanishing Procyclicality of Labor Productivity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1062, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Galí, Jordi & van Rens, Thijs, 2010. "The Vanishing Procyclicality of Labor Productivity," IZA Discussion Papers 5099, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Galí, Jordi & van Rens, Thijs, 2014. "The Vanishing Procyclicality of Labor Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 9853, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Thijs van Rens & Jordi Gali, 2010. "The Vanishing Procyclicality of Labor Productivity," 2010 Meeting Papers 705, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- Galí, Jordi & van Rens, Thijs, 2010. "The vanishing procyclicality of labor productivity," Kiel Working Papers 1641, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
- Jordi Galí & Thijs van Rens, 2014. "The Vanishing Procyclicality of Labor Productivity," Working Papers 489, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
- Katharine G. Abraham & James R. Spletzer & Jay C. Stewart, 1998. "Divergent Trends in Alternative Wage Series," NBER Chapters,in: Labor Statistics Measurement Issues, pages 293-325 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality in the United States, 1913–1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-41.
- Shane T. Jensen & Stephen H. Shore, 2008. "Changes in the Distribution of Income Volatility," Papers 0808.1090, arXiv.org.
- Katharine G. Abraham & John C. Haltiwanger, 1995. "Real Wages and the Business Cycle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(3), pages 1215-1264, September.
- Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Increasing Residual Wage Inequality: Composition Effects, Noisy Data, or Rising Demand for Skill?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 461-498, June.
- Morten O. Ravn & Harald Uhlig, 2002. "On adjusting the Hodrick-Prescott filter for the frequency of observations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 371-375.
- Champagne, Julien & Kurmann, André, 2013. "The great increase in relative wage volatility in the United States," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 166-183.
- Peter Kuhn & Fernando Lozano, 2008. "The Expanding Workweek? Understanding Trends in Long Work Hours among U.S. Men, 1979-2006," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 311-343, April. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:sed014:718. 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: (Christian Zimmermann)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.