Low Wages Aren't a Growing Problem

25 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2022 Last revised: 5 Oct 2022

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 28, 2022


Statements by high-profile political figures and supporting academic research have led to a common perception of worsening job prospects for low-wage workers in the US. In this paper, we show that since the early 1980s there has been a decline in the share of workers earning low wages. This holds across sub-populations and across thresholds for determining what constitutes a low wage. Much of the decline occurs over two periods: the late 1990s and the late 2010s. The decline is greater and steadier for women than for men. We further show that the worker-level persistence of low wages has not increased, and has likely decreased, over time.

Suggested Citation

Abraham, David and Barkai, Simcha, Low Wages Aren't a Growing Problem (June 28, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4202741 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4202741

David Abraham

London Business School ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

Simcha Barkai (Contact Author)

Boston College

140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.simchabarkai.com

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