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What is Happening to Earnings, Inequality and Youth Wages in the 1990s?

  • Picot, Garnett
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    The increase in earnings inequality among men in particular in Canada has been well documented. This paper adds to our knowledge of inequality trends by addressing three issues. First, what has happened to earnings inequality among the employed population in the 1990s? We find that earnings inequality and polarization increased little in the population of all workers (men and women combined) between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s. The second question relates to the impact of the changing propensity of Canadians to hold a job on earnings inequality. Put another way, if we focus on the entire population of working age Canadians (those with and without paid employment), what are the inequality trends. We find that earnings inequality among the working age population changed little over the 1980s and 1990s. This analysis incorporates both the influence of the changing employment/population ratio and inequality trends among employed workers on overall earnings inequality among the working age population. But this relative stability in overall earnings inequality since the mid-1980s masks a number of offsetting underlying trends. Some groups of workers are making earnings gains (notably older workers, and women) while others are losing (notably younger workers and men). This paper focuses in particular on the earnings trends among younger workers, and finds that the decline in annual earnings of younger male workers in particular is associated with a decline in real hourly wages.

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    File URL: http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/olc-cel/olc.action?ObjId=11F0019M1998116&ObjType=46&lang=en&limit=0
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    Paper provided by Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch in its series Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series with number 1998116e.

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    Date of creation: 29 Jun 1998
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    Handle: RePEc:stc:stcp3e:1998116e
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Tunney's Pasture, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0T6
    Web page: http://www.statcan.gc.ca

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    1. Murphy, Brian & Wolfson, Michael, 1998. "New Views on Inequality Trends in Canada and the United States," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1998124e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    2. Chinhui Juhn & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert H. Topel, 1991. "Why Has the Natural Rate of Unemployment Increased over Time?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 75-142.
    3. Richard B. Freeman & Karen Needels, 1993. "Skill Differentials in Canada in an Era of Rising Labor Market Inequality," NBER Chapters, in: Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States, pages 45-68 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Murphy, Kevin M & Welch, Finis, 1992. "The Structure of Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 285-326, February.
    5. W. Craig Riddell, 1993. "Unionization in Canada and the United States: A Tale of Two Countries," NBER Chapters, in: Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States, pages 109-148 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Steven J. Davis, 1992. "Cross-Country Patterns of Change in Relative Wages," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1992, Volume 7, pages 239-300 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Peter Kuhn (McMaster) & A. Leslie Robb (McMaster), . "Shifting Skill Demand and the Canada-US Unemployment Gap: Evidence from Prime-Age Men," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 01, McMaster University.
    8. Beach, C.M. & Slotsve, G.A., 1994. "Polarization of Earnings in the Canadian Labour Market: A Non-Microdata Approach," Working Papers 17, John Deutsch Institute for the Study of Economic Policy.
    9. Thomas Lemieux, 1993. "Unions and Wage Inequality in Canada and the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States, pages 69-108 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Morissette, Rene, 1995. "Why Has Inequality in Weekly Earnings Increased in Canada?," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1995080e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    11. Picot, Garnett & Morissette, Rene & Kapsalis, Costa, 1999. "The Returns to Education and the Increasing Wage Gap Between Younger and Older Workers," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1999131e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
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