Serdar Ozkan

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Research DivisionFederal Reserve Bank of St. LouisP.O. Box 442St. Louis, MO 63166-0442
Fax: (314) 444-8731Email: serdar.ozkan(at)

Call for Papers

Heterogeneity and Macroeconomics of Labor Markets

We are organizing a conferecen on macro-labor topics in Gerzensee, Switzterland on October 13-14, 2023. The selected papers will be published (following the standard refereeing process) in a special issue of the JEDC. Please submit your paper to Here is the call for papers.

NBER EF&G SLIDES 2021 Draft OTE Blog #1 OTE Blog #2

We study the determinants of lifetime earnings (LE) inequality in the U.S. by focusing on job ladder dynamics and on-the-job learning as sources of wage growth. Using administrative data, we document that i) lower LE workers change jobs more often, which is mainly driven by nonemployment; ii) average annual earnings growth for job stayers is similar, around 2% in the bottom two-thirds of the LE distribution, whereas for job switchers it rises with LE; iii) top LE workers enjoy around 10% average earnings growth regardless of job switching. We estimate a job ladder model with on-the-job learning featuring a rich set of worker types and firm heterogeneity. We find that the vast differences across worker types in job ladder risk—job loss, job finding, and contact rates—account for 80% of wage growth differences among workers below median LE. Above the median, almost all lifetime wage growth differences are a result of Pareto-distributed learning ability. We conclude that different economic forces are driving the inequality in different parts of the LE distribution.