Weekly Seminar Series: Kelly Foley



Kelly Foley, Associate Professor at the University of Saskatchewan, will present to our economics graduate students and faculty on Friday, November 24th, 2023 at 11:00am (EST) in KTH 334.


Kelly will be presenting “The Occupational Ladder: Implications for Wage Growth and Wage Gaps over the Life Cycle” (joint with Guido Matias Cortes and Henry E. Siu)



The idea that workers experience wage growth by moving to better paying occupations – climbing an occupational ladder – is commonplace in the work force development literature and among career counselling practitioners. How important is this in accounting for life-cycle wage growth? We decompose an individual worker’s wage into an occupation’s mean wage and the deviation from that occupational wage. We show how much of the life-cycle profile is attributable to changes in the distribution of employment across occupations – climbing an occupational ladder – relative to wage growth within an occupation – climbing a job ladder. Climbing the occupational ladder plays an important role in early career when the life-cycle profile is steepest. The job ladder is an important contributor to wage growth throughout workers’ careers. While men continuously climb up the occupational ladder, women climb down starting in mid-career. Nonetheless, the widening of the gender wage gap over the life cycle is predominantly a “within occupation” phenomenon. The occupational ladder is important in accounting for racial and ethnic wage gaps. Black and Hispanic workers start their careers in substantially lower-paying occupations than White workers; moreover Hispanics ascend the occupational ladder at a much slower pace than Whites.


You can view Kelly’s professional page here.