Department of Sociology

Ken-Hou Lin - "Financialization and Income Inequality, 1970-2008"

Wed, November 7, 2012 | BUR 214

12:00 PM

Abstract: This paper examines the connection between financialization and rising income inequality in the United States. I argue that the increasing reliance on earnings realized through financial channels decoupled the generation of surplus from production, strengthening owners' and elite workers' negotiating power relative to other workers. The result was an incremental exclusion of the general workforce from revenue generating and compensation setting processes. Using time-series cross-section data at the industry level,  my analysis shows that increasing dependence on financial income, in the long run, is associated with declining labor's share of income, increasing top executives' share of compensation, and increasing earnings dispersion among workers. I conclude with a discussion on the potential link between firm-level financialization and employment dynamics.

Bio: Ken-Hou Lin ( is a PhD Candidate in the Sociology Department at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. His research interests include inequality, finance, organization, race and ethnicity, and methodology. He is currently exploring how the financialization of the US economy reshaped the income and employment dynamics. His other research projects examine how race, gender, and education jointly shape the interaction among heterosexual and gay internet daters; how race and ethnicity are perceived; the gap between stylized and diary-based measures of time use; and the labor market and residential outcomes of Hispanic immigrants.

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  • Department of Sociology

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