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What If You Had Been Less Fortunate: The Effects of Poor Family Background on Current Labor Market Outcomes

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  • Cho, Sungwook

    ()
    (Sogang University)

  • Heshmati, Almas

    ()
    (Jönköping University, Sogang University)

Abstract

This study examines the correlation between childhood poverty and its influence on adulthood wage distribution, where childhood poverty refers to experience of poverty or poor family background during one's childhood. With the data from Korean Labor Income Panel Study, KLIPS, quantile regression technique and decomposition method are conducted to identify and decompose the wage gap between low (poor) and middle class income group along the whole current wage distribution, based on a simulated counterfactual distribution. The results show that, those who had been less fortunate during their childhood likely had less opportunity to gain labor market favored characteristics such as a higher level of education, and even earn lower returns to their labor market characteristics in the current labor market. This leads to a discount of about fifteen percentages points off of the wage on average in total for those with underprivileged backgrounds during childhood compared to those with the middle class background, and that disadvantage is observed heterogeneously, greater at the lower quantiles than the higher quantiles of the current wage distribution. Then this research contributes to the literature by providing a partial understanding of poverty in Korea and its possible causes, in particular, in form of poor family background or childhood poverty, with which the implication of intergenerational effect issue is considered.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7708.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7708

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Keywords: labor market outcome; family background; childhood poverty; wage inequality; wage distribution; decomposition; quantile regression; Korea;

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  1. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
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  11. Nguyen, Binh T. & Albrecht, James W. & Vroman, Susan B. & Westbrook, M. Daniel, 2007. "A quantile regression decomposition of urban-rural inequality in Vietnam," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 466-490, July.
  12. Moshe Buchinsky, 1998. "Recent Advances in Quantile Regression Models: A Practical Guideline for Empirical Research," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 88-126.
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