GEP Seminar: Benny Kleinman (University of Chicago)

Tuesday 27th February 2024 (15:00-16:15)

This is an online event

Title:  Wage inequality and the spatial expansion of firms

Abstract:  Multi-location firms increasingly dominate the U.S. economy and account for most of the increase in U.S. wage inequality. I develop a model that links these trends, featuring three main components: (a) firms open branches to serve local markets; (b) the output of firms' headquarters workers is non-rival across branches; (c) firms have wage-setting power. The model can rationalize multiple labor market trends from recent decades through changes in the geographical scope of firms, including a new micro-foundation for skill-biased technical change, rising spatial disparities, and a simultaneous increase in wage dispersion across and within firms. I provide empirical evidence in support of the non-rivalry assumption and of the model's main predictions. I use a quantitative version of the model to study the importance of firm spatial expansion for the overall increase in U.S. wage inequality and to evaluate the implications of key policies that shape firms' ability to span multiple local markets.

Nottingham Centre for Research on Globalisation and Economic Policy

Sir Clive Granger Building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD