Mokre Patrick (2021): The Quantile Impacts of Real Competition on Industrial Wage Inequality in the United States, 1998-2018. Accepted at the Eastern Economics Association 2023 Meeting, Eastern Economics Association.
Abstract Wages are set in bargaining between workers and capitalists, with wage increases rather than levels the bargaining subject. The ability and willingness of firms to increase wages co-determines the bargaining outcomes. Both are subject to the competition of firms between and within industries. The literature on real competition and wage inequality (Botwinick 1993; Shaikh 2020; Mokre and Rehm 2020) poses (1) that this links profit rates and wage growth, (2) both behave as turbulent processes, and (3) the dynamics contain both determinate and stochastic components. In this paper, we attempt to explain the wage distribution and wage inequality as an outcome of turbulent wage growth dynamics.
We present a multi-sector model of turbulent wage growth and persistent wage inequality. In real competition, when a sector realizes above-average profit rates on new capital and this induces accelerating investment streams. Increased labor demand as well as higher profit rates shift the limits to wage growth. The subsequent fall below the average in later periods, which is characteristic for turbulent equalization, also translates into reversed wage dynamics. In the model, we distinguish between direct labor mobility (coaxing) and indirect mobility (recruitment from unemployment). Finally, we formalize a wage growth model in stochastic differential equation form of a Cox, Ingersoll, and Ross (1985) – style drift – diffusion process, and derive analytically the corresponding cross – sectional distribution parameters (Fischer 2018).
We also present a novel Bayesian approach to estimate the parametersof drift-diffusion equations as well as the corresponding wage distribution. When we apply the model to US wage growth data (1998 – 2018), the estimation explains about 93 % of the wage distribution below the top percentile, and 86 % of total sample inequality.
Abstract Poor coverage of the top in wealth surveys conceals the extent of wealth inequality. The literature mitigates this shortcoming by enriching survey data with rich lists and estimating the top tail with a Pareto distribution. However, recent studies rely on ad-hoc assumptions for some of the required parameters. We suggest a unified regression approach to estimate all parameters of a Pareto distribution jointly and extend our analysis with a more flexible three-parameter Generalized Pareto estimation. We introduce a new database of national rich lists (ERLDB) as an alternative to commonly used global rich lists to combine with survey data from the Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS 2017). Our findings for 14 European countries show that wealth is more concentrated than surveys suggest, with almost doubling Top 1% shares in the most extreme cases. In contrast, countries with successful oversampling strategies tend to experience only minor changes in inequality metrics.
Mokre Patrick (2021): The Quantile Impacts of Real Competition on Industrial Wage Inequality in the United States, 1998-2018. Accepted the Ninth ECINEQ Meeting, July 8-10 2021, ECINEQ The Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
Abstract Competition between firms has a substantial impact on wage inequality between workers. The classical political economics literature proposes that turbulent dynamics of real competition within and between industries provide the framework for wage bargaining between workers and firms. Practial limits to wage growth are given turbulently equalizing (incremental profit rates and within-industry cost differentials) and persistently different factors (capital intensity and share of labor cost in total cost). The former provide the link between competition and wage growth, while the latter are responsible for persistent industrial wage premiums. We combine employee level data from the CPS and industry level data from BEA industry accounts from 1998-2018 and find that these impacts are substantial and of unambiguous signs but differential magnitude between income quantiles in those industries where both incremental profit rates and wage growth participate in turbulent equalization.