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Birth QuakeThe Baby Boom and Its Aftershocks$
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Diane J. Macunovich

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780226500836

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226500928.001.0001

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Effects of Relative Cohort Size on Inequality and the Overall Structure of Wages

Effects of Relative Cohort Size on Inequality and the Overall Structure of Wages

(p.103) 6 Effects of Relative Cohort Size on Inequality and the Overall Structure of Wages
Birth Quake

Diane J. Macunovich

University of Chicago Press

This chapter analyzes the wages at all age levels throughout the workforce. It tries to identify whether the age structure of the population has had a significant effect on the primary dimensions of inequality in the United States over the last thirty-five years: on the return to experience, the return to skill, hours and weeks worked, and on the general structure of wages and level of inequality. Changing relative cohort size can explain a significant proportion of the variation over time in measures of work intensity, such as hours and weeks worked and the proportion working full time, at all levels of experience. Cohort size effects—on wages, unemployment, and hours and weeks worked—have occurred not just among younger workers, but throughout the labor force. Furthermore, changing relative cohort size has been a major factor increasing all types of inequality in the society over the past few decades.

Keywords:   wages, inequality, United States, relative cohort size, work intensity, unemployment, labor force

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