Rocío Sánchez-Mangas, Virginia Sánchez Marcos, 20 December 2020

While gender differences in the labour market outcomes of developed countries have declined markedly in recent decades, substantial gender gaps remain. This column examines wages among European university graduates across fields of study and finds that women with degrees in economics, business, or law experienced a significant annual wage-growth penalty if they had children, whereas women with degrees in education, humanities and the arts, STEM, health or the social sciences paid no such penalty.

Erik Frohm, 11 October 2020

Until the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, wage growth had remained sluggish in many advanced economies, while labour markets appear to have improved substantially. This column argues that real-time indicators based on qualitative survey data provided an overly optimistic picture of labour market conditions in the aftermath of the Great Recession. A new establishment-level measure in Sweden, that utilises survey respondents’ quantitative assessments of labour shortages, overcomes some of the shortcomings of purely qualitative data and indicates that labour markets have typically been much weaker than initially assumed during the recovery. As labour shortages are strongly correlated with wage growth at the establishment level, their lower level can help explain why wage growth in Sweden has been sluggish. 

Anna Stansbury, Lawrence H. Summers, 02 June 2020

Since the early 1980s, the US has seen a falling labour share and slow wage growth for typical workers, while measures of corporate valuations and measured markups have increased. A number of papers have argued that increasing monopoly or monopsony power can explain these trends. This column argues instead that the decline in worker power in the US economy is a more compelling explanation for recent macro trends than a broad-based rise in monopoly power.

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