International Differences in Male Wage Inequality: Institutions Versus Market Forces
JOURNAL OF POLITICAL ECONOMY, Vol. 104, No. 4, August 1996
Posted: 20 May 1998
This paper studies the considerably higher level of wage inequality in the United States than in nine other OECD countries. We find that the greater overall U.S. wage dispersion primarily reflects substantially more compression at the bottom of the wage distribution in the other countries. While differences in the distribution of measured characteristics help to explain some aspects of the international differences, higher U.S. prices (i.e., rewards to skills and rents) are an important factor. Labor market institutions, chiefly the relatively decentralized wage- setting mechanisms in the United States, provide the most persuasive explanation for these patterns.
JEL Classification: J31, J51
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation