Category Archives: Income Inequality/Gap

Educational Attainment and Earnings Inequality among US-Born Men: A Lifetime Perspective

Source: Josh Mitchell, Urban Institute, April 2014

From the abstract:
This report tracks the lifetime earnings of men born in the U.S. between 1940 and 1974, focusing on how earnings differences by educational attainment, age, and year of birth have evolved. Both annual and lifetime earnings inequality increased dramatically for men born in the mid-1950s onward. That increase reflects both absolute earnings gains to highly educated workers (especially those with more than a four-year college degree) and absolute earnings losses to less educated workers. Earnings inequality also increases substantially among those with the same level of educational attainment, complicating standard assumptions about the lifetime value of a college degree.

Executive Paywatch 2014: High Paid CEOs and the Low-Wage Economy

Source: AFL-CIO, 2014

From the blog post:
It’s good to be a CEO, at least paywise. According to the 2014 AFL-CIO Executive PayWatch, released today, it’s 331 times better to be a CEO than an average worker. PayWatch finds that the average CEO of an S&P 500 company pocketed $11.7 million in 2013, while the average worker earned $35,293. The gap between CEOs and minimum wage workers is more than twice as wide—774 times. … PayWatch is the most comprehensive searchable online database tracking the excessive pay of CEOs of the nation’s largest companies. The website offers visitors the ability to compare their own pay to the pay of top executives, highlights the 100 top-paid CEOs, and breaks out CEO pay data by state and by industry. The site also tracks and grades votes cast by 78 of the largest mutual-fund families on executive compensation at the public companies they invest in. Mutual funds own more than one-fifth of all shares in U.S. public companies, giving them a great deal of influence in determining executive pay at these companies….

Overwork and the Slow Convergence in the Gender Gap in Wages

Source: Youngjoo Cha, Kim A. Weeden, American Sociological Review, Published online before print April 8, 2014
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Despite rapid changes in women’s educational attainment and continuous labor force experience, convergence in the gender gap in wages slowed in the 1990s and stalled in the 2000s. Using CPS data from 1979 to 2009, we show that convergence in the gender gap in hourly pay over these three decades was attenuated by the increasing prevalence of “overwork” (defined as working 50 or more hours per week) and the rising hourly wage returns to overwork. Because a greater proportion of men engage in overwork, these changes raised men’s wages relative to women’s and exacerbated the gender wage gap by an estimated 10 percent of the total wage gap. This overwork effect was sufficiently large to offset the wage-equalizing effects of the narrowing gender gap in educational attainment and other forms of human capital. The overwork effect on trends in the gender gap in wages was most pronounced in professional and managerial occupations, where long work hours are especially common and the norm of overwork is deeply embedded in organizational practices and occupational cultures. These results illustrate how new ways of organizing work can perpetuate old forms of gender inequality.

The Wage Gap, State by State

Source: National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), April 2014

Families depend on women’s wages more than ever, but the typical woman working full time, year round is paid less than the typical full-time, year-round male worker. These disparities exist in every state. However, as indicated in the map below, the size of the disparity varies by state. Additionally, women represent nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers — and full-time, year-round work at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour leaves a woman with two children thousands of dollars below the poverty line. Working to close the wage gap and increasing the minimum wage are key steps towards fair pay for women.

Read our fact sheets on the state-by-state wage gaps for African-American women, Hispanic women, and women overall:
The Wage Gap By State for Women Overall
The Wage Gap By State for African-American Women
The Wage Gap By State for Hispanic Women
The Wage Gap by State for Women Overall, African-American Women, and Hispanic Women (Combined)

Click on a state below to see its wage gap for women overall, African American women, and Hispanic women, as well as the state’s minimum wage.

Related:
Combating Punitive Pay Secrecy Policies
Source: National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), Fact Sheet, April 2012

Who Rules America Today? The Triumph of the Corporate Rich

Source: G. William Domhoff, UC Santa Barbara Mellichamp Global Studies Lecture, January 23 , 2014

Whether we look at the rising income of the top 1%, the decline in union density, the decline in the purchasing power of the minimum wage since 1968, or the fate of a wide range of legislation, the corporate rich have triumphed over their adversaries in the liberal-labor-environmental coalition. This talk explains that triumph through an archival and interview study of the corporate community’s string of successes beginning in the late 1930s as seen through the eyes of two corporate policy-discussion groups, the Committee for Economic Development and the Council on Foreign Relations.

The Gender Wage Gap by Occupation and by Race and Ethnicity, 2013

Source: Ariane Hegewisch, Stephanie Keller Hudiburg, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Fact Sheet, IWPR #C414, April 2014

From the abstract:
Women’s median earnings are lower than men’s in nearly all occupations, whether they work in occupations predominantly done by women, occupations predominantly done by men, or occupations with a more even mix of men and women. Data for both women’s and men’s median weekly earnings for full-time work are available for 112 occupations ; there are only three occupations in which women have higher median weekly earnings than men. In 101 of the 112 occupations, the gender earnings ratio of women’s median weekly earnings to men’s is 0.95 or lower (that is, a wage gap of at least 5 cents per dollar earned by men); in 17 of these occupations the gender earnings ratio is lower than 0.75 (that is, a wage gap of more than 25 cents per dollar earned by men).

Our Inequality: An Introduction

Source: Colin Gordon, Dissent, March 6, 2014

This series is adapted from Growing Apart: A Political History of American Inequality, a resource developed for the Project on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies and inequality.org. It is presented in nine parts. This introduction lays out the basic dimensions of American inequality and interrogates the usual explanatory suspects. The next eight parts will develop a political explanation for American inequality, looking in turn at labor relations, the minimum wage and labor standards, job-based benefits, social policy, taxes, financialization, executive pay, and macroeconomic policy.

Articles include:
· The Union Difference: Labor and American Inequality
· The Bare Minimum: Labor Standards and American Inequality
· The Perils of Private Welfare: Job-Based Benefits and American Inequality
· A Tattered Safety Net: Social Policy and American Inequality

The Union Difference: Labor and American Inequality

Source: Colin Gordon, Dissent, March 13, 2014

The decline of the American labor movement is—for a number of reasons—a pretty good marker for the broader dismantling of the New Deal and, therefore, for the political roots of inequality in the United States. Union losses, as we shall see, account in no small part for rising inequality, especially for men and especially in the 1970s and ’80s. These losses, in turn, have shaped the political environment: midcentury unions, representing a third of the private workforce, fought and won battles over trade, workplace safety, social policy, and civil rights; with union membership at 6.7 percent in the private labor force (2013), those battles (let alone any victories) are growing rarer and rarer.

Union decline has also fed inequality because, in the American context, so much is at stake at the bargaining table. In settings where union coverage is even and expansive, and where workers (and employers) can count on a decent minimum wage and universal health and retirement benefits, the stakes of collective bargaining in the private sector are relatively low. In the United States, by contrast, economic security is shackled to private job-based benefits, and uneven patterns of union coverage have always made it harder to organize bottom-feeding regions and firms. Employer and political opposition, in this respect, is fierce not because the labor movement is strong, but because it has never been strong enough to to socialize job-based benefits or to take wages out of competition…..