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Earnings Inequality 1 Inequality and Growth Dennis J. Snower.

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Presentation on theme: "Earnings Inequality 1 Inequality and Growth Dennis J. Snower."— Presentation transcript:

1 Earnings Inequality 1 Inequality and Growth Dennis J. Snower

2 Earnings Inequality 2 Easily Explicable Stylized Facts Earnings Dispersion Earnings Dispersion From the beginning of the 1950s till the mid-1970s, the U.S. distribution of real earnings was stable; since then earnings dispersion has increased rapidly. The entire distribution of U.S. earnings has been pulled apart. Between mid-1970 and mid-1990, only the top fifth of the male U.S. working population experienced rising earnings. The U.S. Skill Premium The U.S. Skill Premium By several alternative measures of skill (education premium, experience premium, non-production premium), the earnings of skilled workers have risen relative to those of unskilled workers over the past two decades.

3 Earnings Inequality 3 Labor supply effects Labor supply effects The U.S. earnings distribution has been influenced by changes in the relative supply of skilled vs. unskilled workers. Unionization and centralized bargaining Unionization and centralized bargaining Countries with high rates of unionization and centralized bargaining tend to have greater wage equality. However, there is a pronounced trend toward decentralized wage bargaining in many OECD countries.

4 Earnings Inequality 4 The Conventional Explanation The skilled vs unskilled labor market The skilled vs unskilled labor market Skilled Demand Unskilled Demand Relative Supply ws*ws* wu*wu* Skilled Supply Unskilled Supply

5 Earnings Inequality 5 An increase in the relative skill supply An increase in the relative skill supply Skilled Demand Unskilled Demand Relative Supply ws*ws* wu*wu* Skilled Employment Unskilled Employment

6 Earnings Inequality 6 Inferred shifts in relative demand vs relative supply Inferred shifts in relative demand vs relative supply Skilled Demand Unskilled Demand Relative Supply ws*ws* wu*wu* Skilled Employment Unskilled Employment

7 Earnings Inequality 7 Wage rigidities and unemployment Wage rigidities and unemployment Skilled Demand Unskilled Demand Relative Supply ws*ws* w min Skilled Employment Unskilled EmploymentUnemployment

8 Earnings Inequality 8 Reasons for the shifts in relative demand Globalization Globalization De-industrialization De-industrialization Skill-biased technological change Skill-biased technological change

9 Earnings Inequality 9 Problems with the globalization hypothesis The ubiquitous rise in the demand for skillsThe ubiquitous rise in the demand for skills Problems of timingProblems of timing Deficient labor mobility between tradable and non- tradable sectorsDeficient labor mobility between tradable and non- tradable sectors Changes in the composition of outputChanges in the composition of output The importance of domestic labor suppliesThe importance of domestic labor supplies

10 Earnings Inequality 10 Problems with the technological change hypothesis The charge of tautologyThe charge of tautology The direction of causationThe direction of causation The extensiveness of extensive technological changeThe extensiveness of extensive technological change The influence of technological change on high earningsThe influence of technological change on high earnings The experience premiumThe experience premium The gender earnings premiumThe gender earnings premium International evidence on earnings dispersionInternational evidence on earnings dispersion U.S. unemployment and the minimum wageU.S. unemployment and the minimum wage

11 Earnings Inequality 11 Gender Premium Gender Premium For men, the increased earnings dispersion is due more to the losses of the lowest earners than to the gains of the highest earners. Women, however, have seen gains through the earnings distribution, with the highest earners experiencing the fastest earnings growth. Earnings-Dispersion / Unemployment Trade-off Earnings-Dispersion / Unemployment Trade-off Comparing OECD countries over the past 25 years, there is no clear trade-off between wage dispersion and unemployment. Puzzling Stylized Facts

12 Earnings Inequality 12 Earnings Instability Earnings Instability Over the 1980s in the U.S., the overall increase in earnings dispersion was due as much to earnings instability as to permanent changes in earnings inequality. Within-Group Inequality Within-Group Inequality In the U.S. at least half of the rise in earnings inequality occurred within groups, defined by observable traits such as education, experience, race, and gender.

13 Earnings Inequality 13 Recent Evidence on the Polarization of Work For the US, the growth of wage inequality slowed in the 1990s, For the US, the growth of wage inequality slowed in the 1990s, rising in the first half of the 90s and falling in the second half.rising in the first half of the 90s and falling in the second half. However, the trajectory of upper-tail inequality (90/50) diverged from lower-tail inequality (50/10). However, the trajectory of upper-tail inequality (90/50) diverged from lower-tail inequality (50/10). Upper-tail inequality has increased steadily since 1980.Upper-tail inequality has increased steadily since Lower-tail inequality rose quickly in the first half of the 1980s, and flattened out and contracted afterwards.Lower-tail inequality rose quickly in the first half of the 1980s, and flattened out and contracted afterwards. Polarization of work: Polarization of work: Employment has increased in high-wage and low-wage work, at the expense of middle-wage jobs.Employment has increased in high-wage and low-wage work, at the expense of middle-wage jobs.

14 Earnings Inequality 14 Explanation of Polarization Recent advances in IT and telecommunications Recent advances in IT and telecommunications complement creative, high-education tasks andcomplement creative, high-education tasks and substitute for routine, middle-education tasks.substitute for routine, middle-education tasks.

15 Earnings Inequality 15 References Autor, David H., L. Katz, and Kearny, Trends in US Inequality: Revising the Revisionists, March 2007, mimeo. Autor, David H., L. Katz, and Kearny, Trends in US Inequality: Revising the Revisionists, March 2007, mimeo. Dustmann, Christian, Johannes Ludstek, and Uta Schönberg, Revisiting the German Wage Structure, IZA DP 2685, March Dustmann, Christian, Johannes Ludstek, and Uta Schönberg, Revisiting the German Wage Structure, IZA DP 2685, March Goos, M. and A. Manning, 2007, Lousy and Lovely Jobs : The Rising Polarization of Work in Britain, Review of Economics and Statistics, 89, Goos, M. and A. Manning, 2007, Lousy and Lovely Jobs : The Rising Polarization of Work in Britain, Review of Economics and Statistics, 89,

16 Earnings Inequality 16 Three Important Recent Phenomena (1) The geographic decomposition of value chains The new advances in information and telecommunications technologies permitted a vast expansion in the goods and services that became tradable.The new advances in information and telecommunications technologies permitted a vast expansion in the goods and services that became tradable. This, together with huge improvements in logistics, are enabling firms nowadays to decompose their various stages of production geographically into clusters of tasks, locating each task cluster in the countries and regions where it is most profitable.This, together with huge improvements in logistics, are enabling firms nowadays to decompose their various stages of production geographically into clusters of tasks, locating each task cluster in the countries and regions where it is most profitable.

17 Earnings Inequality 17 This has two important implications: Sectors are becoming increasingly irrelevant in determining job security. It is no longer the case that jobs are relatively secure in the growing sunrise sectors and relatively insecure in the shrinking sunset sectors. The reason is that jobs in the growing sectors can be outsourced and offshored. Sectors are no longer the relevant entities for determining the geographic security of jobs.Sectors are becoming increasingly irrelevant in determining job security. It is no longer the case that jobs are relatively secure in the growing sunrise sectors and relatively insecure in the shrinking sunset sectors. The reason is that jobs in the growing sectors can be outsourced and offshored. Sectors are no longer the relevant entities for determining the geographic security of jobs. Skills required for the performance of routine tasks – regardless of whether they have traditionally been associated with high-skill work – are no longer a guarantee for rising wages and job security. The reason is that such tasks may be electronically transmittable and thus internationally outsourcable.Skills required for the performance of routine tasks – regardless of whether they have traditionally been associated with high-skill work – are no longer a guarantee for rising wages and job security. The reason is that such tasks may be electronically transmittable and thus internationally outsourcable.

18 Earnings Inequality 18 (2) The Rising Importance of Personal Relationships Independently of comparative advantage, three types of tasks appear secure from international outsourcing: Physical delivery tasks, involving physical delivery to customers: For example, waiters are required in the restaurants where customers are eating their meals; construction workers are needed where homeowners wish to place their houses. The jobs of gardeners, taxi drivers, and retail sales personnel are also secure.Physical delivery tasks, involving physical delivery to customers: For example, waiters are required in the restaurants where customers are eating their meals; construction workers are needed where homeowners wish to place their houses. The jobs of gardeners, taxi drivers, and retail sales personnel are also secure. Nonsystematizable tasks, which cannot be defined in terms of routine procedures: People engaged in creative and leadership tasks – for example, managers or researchers working on common projects – often require physical contact to be effective.Nonsystematizable tasks, which cannot be defined in terms of routine procedures: People engaged in creative and leadership tasks – for example, managers or researchers working on common projects – often require physical contact to be effective. Personal relationship tasks: The work of psychotherapists, nurses, school teachers, and social workers crucially involves building personal relationships and these also require physical presence with the recipients of these services.Personal relationship tasks: The work of psychotherapists, nurses, school teachers, and social workers crucially involves building personal relationships and these also require physical presence with the recipients of these services. These three sets of tasks cut across the divide between the sunrise and sunset sectors, and between skilled and unskilled workers. Increasingly, we cannot expect the demand for skilled labor to rise relative to the demand for unskilled labor, regardless of the nature of these skills.

19 Earnings Inequality 19 (3) The increasing flexibility, heterogeneity and versatility of work The command-and-control style of management - where authority flows from the senior executives down through middle management to the workers in the functional departments - is being replaced by flatter organizational structures, in which customer-oriented teams report to the central management with few, if any, intermediaries. These teams frequently require multi-tasking, job rotation, and sharing of multiple responsibilities. The command-and-control style of management - where authority flows from the senior executives down through middle management to the workers in the functional departments - is being replaced by flatter organizational structures, in which customer-oriented teams report to the central management with few, if any, intermediaries. These teams frequently require multi-tasking, job rotation, and sharing of multiple responsibilities. Furthermore, occupational barriers are breaking down in the new types of business organizations, as employees are given multiple responsibilities. In this environment, traditional occupational distinctions begin to lose their significance and what we mean by skilled versus unskilled workers becomes radically changed. Furthermore, occupational barriers are breaking down in the new types of business organizations, as employees are given multiple responsibilities. In this environment, traditional occupational distinctions begin to lose their significance and what we mean by skilled versus unskilled workers becomes radically changed.

20 Earnings Inequality 20 By implication, skilled work is becoming more heterogeneous. By implication, skilled work is becoming more heterogeneous. To succeed in the skilled labour market nowadays, people need more than competence in their specialized occupation.To succeed in the skilled labour market nowadays, people need more than competence in their specialized occupation. They also need to combine their occupational skills with social competence and knowledge of other jobs (so that they can deal with customers and communicate effectively with other members of their team), as well as the ability to adapt their skills to changing customer needs.They also need to combine their occupational skills with social competence and knowledge of other jobs (so that they can deal with customers and communicate effectively with other members of their team), as well as the ability to adapt their skills to changing customer needs. As this process proceeds, skilled workers are increasingly choosing portfolios of skills that are appropriate to their individual abilities and their customers preferences.As this process proceeds, skilled workers are increasingly choosing portfolios of skills that are appropriate to their individual abilities and their customers preferences. Since these abilities and preferences are heterogeneous, the nature of work is becoming increasingly heterogeneous as well.Since these abilities and preferences are heterogeneous, the nature of work is becoming increasingly heterogeneous as well.

21 Earnings Inequality 21 The Reorganisation of Work Historical background Historical background Driving forces underlying the Organisational Revolution Driving forces underlying the Organisational Revolution Broad-based empirical evidence Broad-based empirical evidence Case studies Case studies Features of the Organisational Revolution Features of the Organisational Revolution

22 Earnings Inequality 22 Implications Implications for inequalityfor inequality for labor market institutionsfor labor market institutions for labor market policiesfor labor market policies

23 Earnings Inequality 23 Historical background The division of labor The division of labor in productionin production in managementin management The Industrial Revolution versus the Organisational Revolution The Industrial Revolution versus the Organisational Revolution

24 Earnings Inequality 24 Driving forces Changes in physical capital Changes in physical capital Changes in information technologies Changes in information technologies Changes in human capital Changes in human capital Changes in preferences of employees and customers Changes in preferences of employees and customers

25 Earnings Inequality 25 Broad-based empirical evidence Decentralisation of decision making Decentralisation of decision making Multi-tasking Multi-tasking Complementarities between organisational change and skills Complementarities between organisational change and skills

26 Earnings Inequality 26 Case studies Kodak Kodak IBM Credit IBM Credit Bell Atlantic Bell Atlantic Hallmark Hallmark Volvos laudry Volvos laudry McKesson McKesson

27 Earnings Inequality 27 Features of the Organisational Revolution Organisation of authority within firms Organisation of authority within firms Organisation of design, production, and marketing Organisation of design, production, and marketing Organisation of purchaser-provider relationships Organisation of purchaser-provider relationships Breakdown of organisational barriers Breakdown of organisational barriers

28 Earnings Inequality 28 Analytics Definitions: n j = number of type-j workers n j = number of type-j workers ij = fraction of worker js available time devoted to task iwhere 1j + 2j= 1 ij = fraction of worker js available time devoted to task iwhere 1j + 2j= 1 e ij = productivity of the type-j worker at task iper unit of time) e ij = productivity of the type-j worker at task iper unit of time) Then e i1 i1 n 1 + e i2 i2 n 2 is the amount of labor services devoted to task i Then e i1 i1 n 1 + e i2 i2 n 2 is the amount of labor services devoted to task i

29 Earnings Inequality 29 Production Functions: The production function in task space: The production function in task space: The production function in people space: The production function in people space:

30 Earnings Inequality 30 The productivity of worker j at task i depends on his exposure to the task: The productivity of worker j at task i depends on his exposure to the task: e ij = e ij ij ). The Organizational Choice: The Organizational Choice: The firms labor cost be

31 Earnings Inequality 31 The firms problem: The firms problem: Maximize = q - c, with respect to n j and jj, subject to the predetermined wages w j andMaximize = q - c, with respect to n j and jj, subject to the predetermined wages w j and

32 Earnings Inequality 32 The Optimal Organization of Work The Optimal Organization of Work T jj H jj jj

33 Earnings Inequality 33 Implications for inequality Redefinition of skills Redefinition of skills Rising earnings dispersion Rising earnings dispersion Rising education wage premium Rising education wage premium The gender premium The gender premium Earnings instability Earnings instability Within-group inequality Within-group inequality

34 Earnings Inequality 34 Implications for labor market institutions Centralised bargaining Centralised bargaining Unemployment benefit systems Unemployment benefit systems Job security legislation Job security legislation

35 Earnings Inequality 35 Implications for labor market policies Market failures Market failures Efficiency wagesEfficiency wages Acquisition of skillsAcquisition of skills Education and training Education and training Policy proposals Policy proposals


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