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Defining Variables

Defining Variables

Relative Cohort Size and Relative Income

(p.58) 3 Defining Variables
Birth Quake
Diane J. Macunovich
University of Chicago Press

This chapter covers the historic trends in various measures of relative cohort size and the concept of “asymmetry” around the peak of the baby boom. Richard Easterlin suggested that young adults compare their own recent earnings to their material aspirations. His hypotheses concerning the various effects of relative cohort size assumed that these effects were symmetric around the peak of the baby boom. Cohorts born on the leading edge of the baby boom tended to have higher earnings overall than those born either at the peak or on the trailing edge. Current labor market conditions might have an impact on current age ratios by inducing inter- and intranational migration, with workers moving to areas with higher wages and lower unemployment.

Keywords:   relative cohort size, baby boom, Richard Easterlin, earnings, labor market, migration, wages, unemployment

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