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Melvin Stephens, Estimating Program Benefits

Inequality of Wage Rates, Earnings, and Family Income in the United States, 1975-2002

Publication Abstract

Gottschalk, Peter, and Sheldon H. Danziger. 2005. "Inequality of Wage Rates, Earnings, and Family Income in the United States, 1975-2002." Review of Income and Wealth, 51(2): 231-254.

This paper analyzes distributional changes over the last quarter of the 20th century. We focus on four distinct distributions: the distribution of hourly wage rates, the distribution of annual earnings of individuals, the distribution of annual earnings of families, and the distribution of total family income adjusted for family size. Both male wage rate inequality and family income inequality accelerated during the early 1980's,increased at a slower rate through the early 1990's and then stabilized at a high level through the early 2000's. The similarity in the timing of changes in these two distributions has been used as evidence that increased family income inequality primarily reflects increased inequality of wage rates. We show that other important factors were also at work.

DOI:10.1111/j.1475-4991.2005.00153.x (Full Text)

Country of focus: United States of America.

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