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Top Wage Incomes in Japan, 1951-2005

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  • Chiaki Moriguchi

Abstract

Using wage income tax statistics, we construct continuous series of upper wage income shares in Japan from 1951 to 2005 to document the evolution of top wage incomes and investigate their long-run determinants. We find that, while the middle wage income class gained enormously both in absolute and relative terms during the period of high economic growth, the upper wage income class faired comparatively better after 1975. In particular, the share of total wage accruing to the top 1% wage earners has risen steadily in the last ten years. Using a simple time-series regression analysis, we find that marginal income tax rates, corporate performance, female labor participation, and labor disputes are important determinants of top wage income shares in post-WWII Japan. Although not conclusive, our results suggest that much of the recent gains in wage income shares at the top can be explained by the changes in these four factors, placing a less emphasis on a story of structural change.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14537.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Publication status: published as Moriguchi, Chiaki, 2010. "Top wage incomes in Japan, 1951-2005," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 301-333, September.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14537

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  9. Ono, Hiroshi, 2006. "Lifetime Employment in Japan: Concepts and Measurements," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 624, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 06 Apr 2007.
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Cited by:
  1. Marika Karanassou & Hector Sala, 2010. "The Wage-Productivity Gap Revisited: Is the Labour Share Neutral to Employment?," Working Papers wpdea1006, Department of Applied Economics at Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona.
  2. Karanassou, Marika & Sala, Hector, 2011. "Inequality and Employment Sensitivities to the Falling Labour Share," IZA Discussion Papers 5796, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Fumio Ohtake & M. Kohara & N. Okuyama & K. Yamada, 2013. "GINI Country Report: Growing Inequalities and their Impacts in Japan," GINI Country Reports japan, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.

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