IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/red/sed014/718.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Reconciling the divergence in aggregate U.S. wage series

Author

Listed:
  • Julien Champagne

    (Bank of Canada)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Julien Champagne, 2014. "Reconciling the divergence in aggregate U.S. wage series," 2014 Meeting Papers 718, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed014:718
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2014/paper_718.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fatih Guvenen & Fatih Karahan & Serdar Ozkan & Jae Song, 2015. "What Do Data on Millions of U.S. Workers Reveal about Life-Cycle Earnings Risk?," NBER Working Papers 20913, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. 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.
    3. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
    4. Brent Neiman, 2014. "The Global Decline of the Labor Share," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 61-103.
    5. 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.
    6. Bound, John & Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "The Extent of Measurement Error in Longitudinal Earnings Data: Do Two Wrongs Make a Right?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 1-24, January.
    7. Luca Gambetti & Jordi Galí, 2009. "On the Sources of the Great Moderation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 26-57, January.
    8. Nucci, Francesco & Riggi, Marianna, 2013. "Performance pay and changes in U.S. labor market dynamics," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 2796-2813.
    9. 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.
    10. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
    11. Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2000. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
    12. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 2005. "Nominal Rigidities and the Dynamic Effects of a Shock to Monetary Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 1-45, February.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. Acemoglu, Daron & Autor, David, 2011. "Skills, Tasks and Technologies: Implications for Employment and Earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    17. 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.
    18. Hess Chung & Bruce C. Fallick & Christopher J. Nekarda & David Ratner, 2014. "Assessing the Change in Labor Market Conditions," FEDS Notes 2014-05-22, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    19. Harley Frazis & Jay Stewart, 2010. "Why Do BLS Hours Series Tell Different Stories About Trends in Hours Worked?," NBER Chapters,in: Labor in the New Economy, pages 343-372 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. 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.
    21. Shane T. Jensen & Stephen H. Shore, 2008. "Changes in the Distribution of Income Volatility," Papers 0808.1090, arXiv.org.
    22. Dynan Karen & Elmendorf Douglas & Sichel Daniel, 2012. "The Evolution of Household Income Volatility," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(2), pages 1-42, December.
    23. Bound, John & Johnson, George, 1992. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the 1980's: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 371-392, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Henry R. Hyatt & Tucker S. McElroy, 2017. "Labor Reallocation, Employment, and Earnings: Vector Autoregression Evidence," Working Papers 17-11, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    2. Maya Eden & Paul Gaggl, 2018. "On the Welfare Implications of Automation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 29, pages 15-43, July.
    3. Julien Champagne, 2015. "The Carrot and the Stick: The Business Cycle Implications of Incentive Pay in the Labor Search Model," Staff Working Papers 15-35, Bank of Canada.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. 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). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/sedddea.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.