Age, Education and Occupational Earnings Inequality

33 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2001 Last revised: 2 Jan 2002

See all articles by Edward N. Wolff

Edward N. Wolff

New York University (NYU) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Bard College - Levy Economics Institute

Dennis M. Bushe

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: September 1976

Abstract

In this paper, we will investigate the effect of six factors on occupational earnings inequality across all occupations in our sample and across occupations in five major Census subgroups. Those six factors are: differences in tasks, different levels of efficiency, institutional factors, time worked, the demand for labor and discrimination. Age and schooling will receive primary attention in our work and it will be shown that they are important determinants of earnings inequality among professional and clerical occupations but not among skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled occupations. Ability is also hypothesized as an important factor, but no measure of ability is provided in our sample. Differences in time worked and labor demand conditions, as measured by industrial and urban-rural mix, will also be analyzed, and their effect on earnings inequality is strong in most of the occupational subsamples. Differences in the race and sex composition of occupations do not appear to be significant factors in occupational earnings inequality, and the explanation offered is that discrimination takes the form of occupational segregation rather than differences in pay for similar work. In the conclusion a sketch of a "structural" theory of income distribution is proposed to account for our results.

Suggested Citation

Wolff, Edward N. and Bushe, Dennis M., Age, Education and Occupational Earnings Inequality (September 1976). NBER Working Paper No. w0149. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=260339

Edward N. Wolff (Contact Author)

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

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Bard College - Levy Economics Institute

Blithewood
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504
United States

Dennis M. Bushe

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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