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Changes in wage inequality

By Stephen Machin and John Van Reenen


We examine trends in wage inequality in the United States and other countries since the 1960s. We show that there has been a secular increase in the 90–50 wage differential in the United States and the United Kingdom since the late 1970s. By contrast the 50–10 wage differential rose mainly in the 1980s and flattened or fell in the 1990s and 2000s. We conclude that a version of the skill-biased technical change hypothesis combined with institutional changes (the decline in the minimum wage and trade unions) continues to offer the best explanation for the observed patterns of change

Topics: HC Economic History and Conditions
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1057/9780230226203.1808
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Provided by: LSE Research Online
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