The Baby Boom's Legacy: Relative Wages in the 21st Century

Phillip B. Levine, Wellesley College
Olivia S. Mitchell

Published: Levine, Phillip B., and Olivia S. Mitchell, "The Baby Boom's Legacy: Relative Wages in the 21st Century," American Economic Review, Vol. 78 , pp. 66-9, May 1988.


This paper assesses the impact of the post WWII baby boom on relative wages, when this baby boom cohort becomes the oldest segment of the workforce. Time series data are used to estimate a model of the demand for workers in eight age/sex groupings. Using these estimates, we simulate relative wages in the year 2020 assuming the age/sex composition of the workforce behaves according to projections. The results are used to examine the baby boom's potential impact on wages of older, prime-age, and teenage workers, as well as the anticipated wage gap between males and females.