Wages and Human Capital in the U.S. Financial Industry: 1909-2006

62 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2009

See all articles by Thomas Philippon

Thomas Philippon

New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Ariell Reshef

Paris School of Economics (PSE); CNRS; Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne - CES/CNRS; Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Info. Internationales (CEPII)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2009

Abstract

We use detailed information about wages, education and occupations to shed light on the evolution of the U.S. financial sector over the past century. We uncover a set of new, interrelated stylized facts: financial jobs were relatively skill intensive, complex, and highly paid until the 1930s and after the 1980s, but not in the interim period. We investigate the determinants of this evolution and find that financial deregulation and corporate activities linked to IPOs and credit risk increase the demand for skills in financial jobs. Computers and information technology play a more limited role. Our analysis also shows that wages in finance were excessively high around 1930 and from the mid 1990s until 2006. For the recent period we estimate that rents accounted for 30% to 50% of the wage differential between the financial sector and the rest of the private sector.

Keywords: finance, human capital, regulation, wages

JEL Classification: G0, J0, N0, O0

Suggested Citation

Philippon, Thomas and Reshef, Ariell, Wages and Human Capital in the U.S. Financial Industry: 1909-2006 (April 2009). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP7282. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1433859

Thomas Philippon (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance ( email )

Stern School of Business
44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012-1126
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Ariell Reshef

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

CNRS ( email )

France

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne - CES/CNRS ( email )

106 bv de l'Hôpital
Paris, 75013
France

Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Info. Internationales (CEPII) ( email )

9 rue Georges Pitard
Paris Cedex 15, F-75015
France

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