Discussion paper

DP15083 Heterogeneity and Wage Inequalities over the Life Cycle

Using data on French male wage employees observed over 30 years, we estimate individual-specific parameters of a human capital investment model by random and fixed effect methods. Individual wage profiles are described by a level, a slope and a curvature. Among the salient results, cross-section inequalities exceed life-cycle inequalities by a factor increasing from 20% to 80%, and permanent heterogeneity explains between 60 and 90% of the variance of wages. Multidimensional heterogeneity, and in particular the heterogeneous curvature of individual profiles, is found to be necessary to properly describe the stochastic process of wages over the life-cycle.


Magnac, T and S Roux (eds) (2020), “DP15083 Heterogeneity and Wage Inequalities over the Life Cycle”, CEPR Press Discussion Paper No. 15083. https://cepr.org/publications/dp15083