Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 8-15-2023


From 1963 to 2021, the U.S. evolved from a manual to a knowledge-based economy, intensifying the wage gap between skilled and unskilled workers. Using the CPS ASEC supplements and building on Autor, Katz, and Kearny 2008, this study contrasts two perspectives: the traditionalist view, associating rising inequality with increased demand for skilled labor, and the revisionist view, which sees it as a one-off event due to declining real minimum wage. Analyzing 90-10 inequality, left-tail (50-10) vs. right-tail (90-50) inequality, and college vs. high-school wage premiums, findings suggest a secular rise in inequality driven by technological innovation and demand for skilled workers from 1963 to 2005. However, from 2005 to 2021, the revisionist claim finds merit, as state-level minimum wage adjustments affect the left tail. This highlights the complex dynamics of wage inequality over this period.



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