There has been a paucity of cross-national studies of earnings inequality. This is unfortunate, since the ways that individual characteristics and work structures influence earnings are likely to be heavily dependent on the institutional frameworks of different countries. This paper investigates how work structures affect the earnings of labor force members in the United States and Norway. Our analysis—based on data collected as part of the cross-national ‘Class Structure and Class Consciousness’ project—suggests that both structural and individual variables are needed to account for the generation of economic inequality. Moreover, while some work structures affect earnings similarly in the two countries, there are notable differences. For example, our results suggest that earnings are more standardized in Norway, as wage gains made by organized workers ‘spill over’ to those in unorganized sectors. In particular, union membership is less strongly related to earnings among Norwegian as compared to U.S. men; and there are greater differences in earnings among occupational groups for men in the U.S.
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