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A Life Cycle Perspective on Changes in Earnings Inequality Among Married Men and Women

  • John Pencavel

    (Department of Economics, Stanford University)

The connection between the growth in hourly earnings inequality of individuals and changes in family earnings involves a number of issues: the movements in the employment of different family members, the association between changes in the earnings of the husband and those of the wife, and patterns of assortative mating. This paper offers a decomposition of the logarithm of the coefficient of variation in family earnings that distinguishes these issues. Unlike most of the previous research, this paper organizes the data on the dispersion of family earnings not simply over time but also by age. We focus on the impact on family earnings inequality of the growth in the relative employment and relative earnings of wives. Such growth has partly offset the effects on family earnings inequality of the increase in husbands’ earnings inequality.

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File URL: http://www-siepr.stanford.edu/repec/sip/04-036.pdf
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Paper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 04-036.

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Date of creation: Jul 2005
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Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:04-036
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  1. James P. Smith, 2004. "The Distribution of Family Earnings," Labor and Demography 0408010, EconWPA.
  2. Dean R. Hyslop, 2001. "Rising U.S. Earnings Inequality and Family Labor Supply: The Covariance Structure of Intrafamily Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 755-777, September.
  3. Lehrer, Evelyn & Nerlove, Marc, 1981. "The Impact of Female Work on Family Income Distribution in the United States: Black-White Differentials," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 27(4), pages 423-31, December.
  4. Deaton, Angus & Paxson, Christina, 1994. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 437-67, June.
  5. Chinhui Juhn & Kevin M. Murphy, 1996. "Wage Inequality and Family Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 5459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Orazio Attanasio & Gabriella Berloffa & Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 2002. "From Earnings Inequality to Consumption Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C52-C59, March.
  7. Maria Cancian & Deborah Reed, 1998. "Assessing The Effects Of Wives' Earnings On Family Income Inequality," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 73-79, February.
  8. Lehrer, Evelyn & Nerlove, Marc, 1984. "A Life-Cycle Analysis of Family Income Distribution," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 22(3), pages 360-74, July.
  9. Layard, Richard & Zabalza, Antoni, 1979. "Family Income Distribution: Explanation and Policy Evaluation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S133-61, October.
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