Labor Earnings Mobility and Inequality in the United States and Germany During the Growth Years of the 1980s
44 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2000 Last revised: 14 May 2021
Date Written: April 1997
Recent years have witnessed increased interest in issues of inequality and mobility in the labor market. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and the German Socio-Economic Panel, we compare the labor earnings mobility of prime age men and women in the United States and Germany during the growth years of the 1980s. Despite major differences in labor market institutions we find very similar patterns in the two countries. Our formal models of labor earnings dynamics suggest a great deal of persistence in both countries. In the United States this may derive from permanent individual-specific differences among men, while in Germany random shocks are found to persist longer for men. Women in Germany and the United States have similar earnings dynamics.
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