Ioana Marinescu, Ronald Wolthoff, 06 November 2016

One of the fundamental questions in labour economics is why some workers are paid more than others within the same industry. This column uses data from adverts on a large US job website to investigate what's behind these wage differences. The job titles used in adverts capture more variation between jobs than standard occupational classifications. By failing to recognise this, the previous literature has attributed too much of wage inequality to luck and too little to differences in worker and firm characteristics.

John Gibson, David McKenzie, Halahingao Rohorua, Steven Stillman, 26 January 2016

Wage differences across countries offer individuals the possibility of huge wage gains through moving abroad. This column uses data on lottery-selected migrants from Tonga to New Zealand to assess the effect on productivity and wages for workers moving from a poor country to a rich country. These randomly selected workers appear to be immediately more productive, and their wage gains are stable over time. It seems that cross-country wage differences are due to better institutions, higher quality capital, and other factors in rich countries that serve to raise the productivity of all workers, whether natives or migrants.



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