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Job Ladders and Careers
Workers in the United States experience vast differences in lifetime earnings. Individuals in the 90th percentile earn around seven times more than those in the 10th percentile, and those in the top percentile earn almost twenty times more. A large share of these differences arise over the course of people?s careers. What accounts for these vastly different outcomes in the labor market? Why do some individuals experience much steeper earnings profiles than others? Previous research has shown that the ?job ladder??in which workers obtain large pay increases when they switch to better jobs or ...
Anatomy of Lifetime Earnings Inequality: Heterogeneity in Job Ladder Risk vs. Human Capital
We study the determinants of lifetime earnings (LE) inequality in the United States, for which differences in lifetime earnings growth are key. Using administrative data and focusing on the roles of job ladder dynamics and on-the-job learning, we document that 1) lower LE workers change jobs more often, mainly driven by higher nonemployment; 2) earnings growth for job stayers is similar at around 2 percent in the bottom two-thirds of the LE distribution, whereas for job switchers it rises with LE; and 3) top LE workers enjoy high earnings growth regardless of job switching. We estimate a job ...
Bad Jobs and Low Inflation
We study a model in which firms compete to retain and attract workers searching on the job. A drop in the rate of on-the-job search makes such wage competition less likely, reducing expected labor costs and lowering inflation. This model explains why inflation has remained subdued over the last decade, which is a conundrum for general equilibrium models and Phillips curves. Key to this success is the observed slowdown in the recovery of the employment-to-employment transition rate in the last five years, which is interpreted by the model as a decline in the share of employed workers searching ...