NBER Working Papers by Erling Barth

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Working Papers

September 2014It's Where You Work: Increases in Earnings Dispersion across Establishments and Individuals in the U.S.
with Alex Bryson, James C. Davis, Richard Freeman: w20447
This paper links data on establishments and individuals to analyze the role of establishments in the increase in inequality that has become a central topic in economic analysis and policy debate. It decomposes changes in the variance of ln earnings among individuals into the part due to changes in earnings among establishments and the part due to changes in earnings within-establishments and finds that much of the 1970s-2010s increase in earnings inequality results from increased dispersion of the earnings among the establishments where individuals work. It also shows that the divergence of establishment earnings occurred within and across industries and was associated with increased variance of revenues per worker. Our results direct attention to the fundamental role of establishment-l...
June 2009The Equality Multiplier
with Karl O. Moene: w15076
Equality can multiply due to the complementarity between wage determination and welfare spending. A more equal wage distribution fuels welfare generosity via political competition. A more generous welfare state fuels wage equality further via its support to weak groups in the labor market. Together the two effects generate a cumulative process that adds up to an important social multiplier. We focus on a political economic equilibrium which incorporates this mutual dependence between wage setting and welfare spending. It explains how almost equally rich countries differ in economic and social equality among their citizens and why countries cluster around different worlds of welfare capitalism---the Scandinavian model, the Anglo-Saxon model and the Continental model. Using data on 18 OECD c...
June 1999Monopsonistic Discrimination and the Gender-Wage Gap
with Harald Dale-Olsen: w7197
Models of worker flows have revitalized the idea of monopsony in the labor market. We apply such a model to gender differences. We argue that monopsonistic discrimination may be a substantial factor behind the overall gender wage gap, in particular with respect to differences arising between occupations and establishments. Using matched employer-employee data from Norway, we investigate the wage structure within and between establishments, and present novel evidence that the establishments' excess turnover of employees is sensitive to the wage premium of men, but not to the wage premium of women. Furthermore, we show that male turnover is more wage-elastic than female turnover.

Published: Barth, Erling & Dale-Olsen, Harald, 2009. "Monopsonistic discrimination, worker turnover, and the gender wage gap," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 589-597, October.

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