Rising U.S. Wage Inequality: Whither the Middle Class?

Robert Valletta discusses rising U.S. wage inequality and how it has affected the American middle class. Robert also discusses potential causes of rising wage inequality, including the roles of education, technological change, trade and immigration, and institutional factors such as union activity and pay practices.

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Video Chapters

  1. Introduction & Talk Overview
    0:00 - 3:17
  2. Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality and Why do we Care?
    3:18 - 9:23
  3. Rising U.S. Wage Inequality: Patterns
    9:24 – 14:52
  4. Rising U.S. Wage Inequality: Sources
    14:53 - 25:21
  5. Summary: The Middle-Class Squeeze
    25:22 -27:01

About the Speaker

Robert Valletta is a Research Advisor within the Microeconomic Research group at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. His research at the Bank has a dual focus on national labor markets and general economic activity in the 12th Federal Reserve District. In addition, his scholarly articles and ongoing research are primarily in the field of labor economics, including topics such as job mobility and job security, unemployment, income inequality and poverty, and the effects of employer-provided health insurance on labor market outcomes. Robert has also investigated the potential impacts of climate change on regional economic activity. See his research page.

You May Be Interested In

Valletta, Robert and David Neumark. "Worker Skills and Job Quality." FRBSF Economic Letter (April 30, 2012).

Valletta, Robert and Katherine Kuang. "Why is Unemployment Duration So Long?" FRBSF Economic Letter (January 30, 2012).

Valletta, Robert and Katherine Kuang. "Recent Layoffs in a Fragile Labor Market." FRBSF Economic Letter (September 26, 2011).