Potential Biases in Measurement of Wage Inequality
Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
- Chair: Samuel L. Myers Jr., University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Are Blacks Lazy?
AbstractThis paper attempts to replicate the controversial findings of Hamermesh, et al. (2016) who use the American Time Use Survey to show that there are racial differences in work effort that could bias measurement of wage inequality. Our paper examines the effects of non-response rates on estimates of hours worked and the share of the work day spend not working, a proxy for laziness. By using the American Time Use Survey 2003-15, this paper seeks to identify the rate at which workers spend time at work performing non-work related activities. We identify population level biases in the survey, discuss ways that these biases may be wrongly attributed to race or ethnicity, and connect ways these attributions may prevent workers from earning wages based on their effort. The paper addresses core questions posed in measuring racial disparities in work effort.
Earnings Inequality and the Role of the Firm
AbstractUsing U.S. longitudinal linked employer-employee data, we analyze the role of the employer in explaining earnings inequality. From 2004 to 2013, year-to-year movements between the bottom, middle and top of the earnings distribution average 20.5 million workers annually. For stayers and movers, we decompose earnings in the previous and current year into a firm and non-firm component. Using the estimated components, we show there are large gains from working at a top-paying firm for all skill types. Working for a high-paying firm produces benefits today, through higher earnings, that persist through an increase in the probability of upward mobility. High-paying firms facilitate moving workers to the top of the distribution and keeping them there.
- J7 - Labor Discrimination