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Skilled Tradable Services: The Transformation of U.S. High-Skill Labor Markets
We study a group of service industries that are skill-intensive, widely traded, and have recently seen explosive wage growth. Between 1980 and 2015, these ?Skilled Tradable Services? accounted for a sharply increasing share of employment among the highest earning Americans. Unlike any other sector, their wage growth was strongly biased toward the densest local labor markets and the highest paying firms. These services alone explain 30% of the increase in inequality between the 50th and 90th percentiles of the wage distribution. We offer an explanation for these patterns that highlights the ...
Which Ladder to Climb? Wages of Workers by Job, Plant, and Education
Wages grow but also become more unequal as workers age. Using German administrative data, we largely attribute both life-cycle facts to one driving force: some workers progress in hierarchy to jobs with more responsibility, complexity, and independence. In short, they climb the career ladder. Climbing the career ladder explains 50% of wage growth and virtually all of rising wage dispersion. The increasing gender wage gap by age parallels a rising hierarchy gap. Our findings suggest that wage dynamics are shaped by the organization of production, which itself likely depends on technology, the ...