UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Decomposing Wage Distributions Using Recentered Influence Function Regressions Firpo, Sergio P.; Fortin, Nicole M.; Lemieux, Thomas


This paper provides a detailed exposition of an extension of the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition method that can be applied to various distributional measures. The two-stage procedure first divides distributional changes into a wage structure effect and a composition effect using a reweighting method. Second, the two components are further divided into the contribution of each explanatory variable using recentered influence function (RIF) regressions. We illustrate the practical aspects of the procedure by analyzing how the polarization of U.S. male wages between the late 1980s and the mid 2010s was affected by factors such as de-unionization, education, occupations, and industry changes.

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