Comparative Economic Studies

, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 739–764 | Cite as

Addressing the Problem of Stagnant Wages

  • Frank Levy
  • Thomas Kochan
Symposium Article


From the mid-1940s through the 1970s, median wages and productivity growth rose in tandem. Since the 1980s productivity continued to grow steadily while wages stagnated. In this paper we document these trends, explore the reasons for these divergent trends, and outline a mix of policy, institutional, and organizational changes needed to restore wage growth and improved living standards for the American workforce.


wages labor policy productivity 

JEL Classifications

Jo8 Labor Economics Policies 



An earlier version of this paper was prepared for the Employment Policy Research Network We thank Alan Benson for his research assistance and Joseph Blasi, Jerry Davis, Richard Freeman, Doug Kruse, Ruth Milkman, Daniel J. Mitchell, Richard J. Murnane, Paul Osterman, Jeffrey Pfeffer, and Michael Piore for their comments.


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Copyright information

© Association for Comparative Economics 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank Levy
    • 1
  • Thomas Kochan
    • 1
  1. 1.Sloan School, Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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