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Est. April 5, 2002
September 10, 2015 - Issue 620

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Gap Between
Productivity and Pay
Continues to Widen

By Josh Bivens
and Larry Mishel

"EPI’s new report on the productivity–pay gap
found that from 2000 to 2014, net productivity
grew by 21.6 percent, while the typical worker’s
hourly compensation (wages and benefits)
grew by just 1.8 percent."

This report is part of Raising America’s Pay, a multiyear research and public education initiative of the Economic Policy Institute to make wage growth an urgent national policy priority. Raising America’s Pay identifies broad-basedwage growth as the central economic challenge of our time—essential to alleviating inequality, expanding the middle class, reducing poverty, generating shared prosperity, and sustaining economic growth.

EPI’s Josh Bivens and Larry Mishel explain how in the decades immediately following World War II, inflation-adjusted hourly compensation for typical American workers rose in line with productivity, but since the 1970s, productivity and typical workers’ pay have diverged—due largely to rising inequality.

About the Guest commentators:

Josh Bivens joined the Economic Policy Institute in 2002 and is currently the director of research and policy. His primary areas of research include mac­roeconomics, social insurance, and globalization. He has authored or co-authored three books (including The State of Working America, 12th Edition) while working at EPI, edited another, and has written numerous research papers, including for academic journals. He appears often in media outlets to offer eco­nomic commentary and has testified several times before the U.S. Congress. He earned his Ph.D. from The New School for Social Research.

Lawrence Mishel, a nationally recognized economist, has been president of the Economic Policy Institute since 2002. Prior to that he was EPI’s first research director (starting in 1987) and later became vice president. He is the co-author of all 12 editions of The State of Working America. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and his articles have appeared in a variety of academic and non-academic journals. His areas of research are labor economics, wage and income distribution, industrial relations, productivity growth, and the economics of education.

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