Wage Structure and Labor Mobility in the United States

John M. Abowd, John Haltiwanger and Julia Lane

in The Structure of Wages

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780226470504
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226470511 | DOI:
Wage Structure and Labor Mobility in the United States

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This chapter investigates the sources of variation in two core outcomes of interest to economists in the United States—the earnings distribution and mobility patterns—and presents a brief literature review and institutional background. It also briefly discusses the new database infrastructure, and then reports some basic statistics about the structure of wages within and between firms, as well as job mobility patterns. The underlying dynamics of earnings inequality are complex and are due to factors that cannot be measured in standard cross-sectional data. While there is substantial between-firm variation in earnings, the within-firm variation is very large in terms of both levels and changes of earnings over time. The earnings dynamics and turnover are, not surprisingly, connected with workers that change jobs having on average a positive increase in earnings.

Keywords: earnings distribution; mobility patterns; database infrastructure; wages; firms; job mobility; earnings inequality; United States

Chapter.  8371 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Economics

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