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Econ webinar by Serdar Özkan (University of Toronto)

ECON WEBINAR

 

Anatomy of Lifetime Earnings Inequality: Heterogeneity in Job Ladder Risk vs. Human Capital

by

 

SERDAR ÖZKAN

(UNIVERSITY of TORONTO) 

 

DECEMBER 10, 2020

16:00-17:15

https://sabanciuniv.zoom.us/j/98832517138 

 

Abstract: We study the determinants of lifetime earnings (LE) inequality in the U.S. by focusing on job ladder dynamics and on-the-job learning as sources of wage growth. Using administrative data, we document that i) lower LE workers change jobs more often, mainly driven by higher nonemployment; ii) earnings growth for job stayers is similar at around 2% in the bottom two thirds of the LE distribution, whereas for job switchers it rises with LE; iii) top LE workers enjoy high earnings growth regardless of job switching. We estimate a job ladder model with on-the-job learning featuring ex-ante heterogeneity in learning ability and job ladder risk—job loss, job finding, and contact rates. We find that the large heterogeneity in job ladder risk accounts for 80% of wage growth differences among workers below median LE. Above the median, almost all lifetime wage growth differences are due to Paretodistributed learning ability.