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International Comparisons of Inter-industry Wage Differentials


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  • Gittleman, Maury
  • Wolff, Edward N


We use OECD data to examine inter-industry wage differentials (relative wages among industries) for 14 OECD countries over the period 1970-85. We find, first, that the industrial wage structures have shown remarkable stability over time in terms of rank order for all the countries in the sample. Second, despite their rank order stability, wage structures show a tendency to expand or contract. While the U.S. has shown increasing industry wage dispersion between 1970 and 1985, the pattern is very mixed for other countries. Unionization is a significant factor in explaining cross-country differences. Third, industry wage rankings show some evidence of becoming increasingly similar across nations over time, and this movement is associated with a convergence of per capita incomes. Fourth, industry wage differentials are positively related to an industry's productivity growth, output growth, capital intensity, and export orientation. Copyright 1993 by The International Association for Research in Income and Wealth.

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Article provided by International Association for Research in Income and Wealth in its journal Review of Income & Wealth.

Volume (Year): 39 (1993)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 295-312

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Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:39:y:1993:i:3:p:295-312

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