Cohort Patterns in Canadian Earnings: Assessing the Role of Skill Premia in Inequality Trends
This paper documents the pattern of change in age-earnings profiles across cohorts and evaluates its implications. Using synthetic cohorts from the Survey of Consumer Finances over the period 1971 to 1993, we show that the age-earning profiles of Canadian men have been deteriorating for more recent cohorts in comparison to older cohorts. We find this pattern for both high school and university educated workers. In no case do we find evidence that the return to gaining experience has been increasing over time, nor do we find increased within-cohort dispersion of earnings. We view these findings as conflicting with the hypothesis that increased skill-premium largely explains the observed increase in dispersion of male weekly earnings in Canada. When looking at the pattern for women, we find only minor differences in the age-earning relationships across cohorts.