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Increasing Income Inequality: Productivity, Bargaining and Skill-Upgrading

  • Anders Frederiksen

    (Aarhus University)

  • Odile Poulsen

    (School of Economics, University of East Anglia)

In recent decades most developed countries have experienced an increase in income inequality. In this paper, we use an equilibrium search framework to shed additional light on what is causing income distribution to change. The major benefit of the model is that it is can accommodate shocks to the skill composition in the market, employee bargaining power and productivity. Further, when our model is subjected to skill-upgrading and changes in employee bargaining power, it is capable of predicting the recent changes observed in the Danish income distribution. The model emphasizes that shocks to the employees' relative productivity, i.e., skill-biased technological change, are unlikely to have caused the increase in income inequality.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. in its series University of East Anglia Applied and Financial Economics Working Paper Series with number 006.

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Date of creation: 21 Apr 2010
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Handle: RePEc:uea:aepppr:2010_6
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  1. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1991. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," NBER Working Papers 3927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Dinardo, J. & Fortin, N.M. & Lemieux, T., 1994. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: a Semiparametric Approach," Cahiers de recherche 9406, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  3. 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 371-92, June.
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  9. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-81, September.
  10. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
  11. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
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  13. Sherwin Rosen, 1982. "Authority, Control, and the Distribution of Earnings," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 311-323, Autumn.
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  16. Christopher A. Pissarides, 1994. "Search Unemployment with On-the-job Search," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 457-475.
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