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Explaining Changes in Wages and Income Inequality, 1979 to 2009

In the wake of the Great Recession and the Occupy Wall Street protests, and following the recent English-version publication of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, income inequality has been the subject of much public discussion in the United States. In 2011, the Congressional Budget Office produced a report for the Senate Committee on Finance entitled “Changes in the Distribution of Workers’ Hourly Wages Between 1979 and 2009”. In this study, the CBO tracks wage levels and wage distribution, and offers some explanations for changes observed over time.