Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik

Journal of Economics and Statistics

Editor-in-Chief: Winker, Peter

Ed. by Büttner, Thiess / Riphahn, Regina / Smolny, Werner / Wagner, Joachim

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.200
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.309

CiteScore 2018: 0.50

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.154
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.382

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 239, Issue 2


The Role of Hours Changes for the Increase in German Earnings Inequality

Martin Biewen
  • Corresponding author
  • University of Tübingen, LEAD Tübingen, IZA Bonn
  • School of Business and Economics, University of Tübingen, Mohlstr. 36, 72074 Tübingen, Germany
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Daniela Plötze
Published Online: 2019-03-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jbnst-2018-0013


Using data from the German Structure of Earnings Survey (GSES), this paper studies the role of changes in working hours for the increase in male and female earnings inequality between 2001 and 2010. We provide both classic decompositions of the variance of log earnings into the variances of hours, wage rates and their covariance, and decompositions based on reweighting the conditional hours distribution. Depending on the inequality measure considered, our results suggest that between 10 and 30% of the increase in male earnings inequality and 37 to 47% of the increase in female earnings inequality can be explained by changes in working hours. In addition, a large part of the inequality increase can be accounted for by changes in the composition of person and firm characteristics.

Keywords: inequality; working hours; earnings; female labor market participation

JEL Classification: C14; J22; J31


  • Autor, D.H., L.F. Katz, M.S. Kearney (2008), Trends in us Wage Inequality: Revising the Revisionists. Review of Economics and Statistics 90: 300–323.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Biewen, M., M. Ungerer, M. Löffler (2017a), Why Did Income Inequality in Germany not Increase Further after 2005? Forthcoming in: German Economic Review.Google Scholar

  • Biewen, M., B. Fitzenberger, J. DeLazzer (2017b), Rising Wage Inequality in Germany: Increasing Heterogeneity and Changing Selection into Full-Time Work, IZA Discussion Paper No. 11072. Bonn.

  • Blau, F.D., L.M. Kahn (2011), Inequality and Earnings Distribution. pp. 177–203 in: W. Salverda, B. Nolan, T. Smeeding (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Economic Inequality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Burtless, G. (1990), A Future of Lousy Jobs: The Changing Structure of U.S. Wages. Washington D.C: Brookings Institution Press.

  • Card, D., J. Heining, P. Kline (2013), Workplace Heterogeneity and the Rise of West German Wage Inequality. Quarterly Journal of Economics 128: 967–1015.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Checchi, D., C. Garcia-Penalosa, L. Vivian (2016), Are Changes in the Dispersion of Hours Worked a Cause of Increased Earnings Inequality? IZA Journal of European Labor Studies 5: 1–34.Google Scholar

  • DiNardo, J., N. Fortin, T. Lemieux (1996), Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973–1992: A Semiparametric Approach. Econometrica 64: 1001–1044.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Doiron, D.J., G.F. Barrett (1996), Inequality in Male and Female Earnings: The Role of Hours and Wages. Review of Economics and Statistics 78: 410–420.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Dustmann, C., J. Ludsteck, U. Schönberg (2009), Revisting the German Wage Structure. Quarterly Journal of Economics 124: 843–881.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Foster, J., E. Ok (1999), Lorenz Dominance and the Variance of Logarithms. Econometrica 67: 901–907.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Fuchs-Schündeln, N., D. Krüger, M. Sommer (2010), Inequality Trends for Germany in the Last Two Decades: A Tale of Two Countries. Review of Economic Dynamics 13: 103–132.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Jann, B. (2008), The Blinder-Oaxaca Decomposition for Linear Regression Models. Stata Journal 8: 453–479.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Juhn, C., K. Murphy, B. Pierce (1993), Wage Inequality and the Rise in Return to Skill. Journal of Political Economy 101: 410–442.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Johnson, S., P. Kuhn (2004), Increasing Male Earnings in Canada and the United States, 1981–1997: The Role of Hours Changes vs. Wage Changes. Canadian Public Policy/Analyse de Politiques 30: 155–175.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Katz, L.F., D.H. Autor (1999), Changes in the Wage Structure and Earnings Inequality. pp. 1463–1166 in: O. Ashenfelter, D. Card (eds.), Handbook of Labor Economics, Volume 4b. Elsevier: Amsterdam.Google Scholar

  • Machin, S. (2008), An Appraisal of Economic Research on Changes in Wage Inequality. LABOUR 22: 7–26.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • OECD (2011), Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising. OECD Publishing. .CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Shorrocks, A. (2013), Decomposition Procedures for Distributional Analysis: A Unified Framework based on the Shapley Value. Journal of Economic Inequality 11: 99–126.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

About the article

Received: 2018-02-01

Revised: 2018-07-27

Accepted: 2018-08-02

Published Online: 2019-03-20

Published in Print: 2019-04-24

Citation Information: Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik, Volume 239, Issue 2, Pages 277–304, ISSN (Online) 2366-049X, ISSN (Print) 0021-4027, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jbnst-2018-0013.

Export Citation

© 2019 Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag GmbH, Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in