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The Changing Distribution of Earnings in OECD Countries$
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A.B. Atkinson

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199532438

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532438.001.0001

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United States

United States

(p.397) T United States
The Changing Distribution of Earnings in OECD Countries

A. B. Atkinson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents tables of data on the United States and an account of its increased earnings distribution. It shows that the 1940s were a period of wage compression; the 1950s saw a large reversal of this compression, continuing at the top into the early 1960s. The mid-1960s and 1970s were a period of hiatus. The bottom decile fell in the 1980s, but then recovered some of the lost ground in the 1990s. The top decile rose in the 1980s, paused, and then continued its upward path, so that by 2005 it was above the equivalent of its 1939 value. There has been a distinct ‘fanning out’ of the upper part of the US earnings distribution.

Keywords:   country data, earnings distribution, earnings dispersion

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