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The Changing Wage Distribution in Germany between 1985 and 2006


  • Johannes Giesecke
  • Roland Verwiebe


In this paper the changes in the wage distribution in (West-)Germany between 1985 and 2006 are analysed. The theoretical framework is based on the literature on skill-biased technological change (SBTC) and on structural theory. Analyses draw on descriptive measures of the development of wage inequality among blue- and white-collar workers as well as on regression analyses of individual and structural determinants of wages for the years 1985 to 2006. The results show that wage inequality remained fairly constant until the early 1990s, but started to increase from the mid-1990s onwards. Moreover, regression analyses reveal that this increase was paralleled by rising inter-class wage differentials, while returns to (higher) education decreased.

Suggested Citation

  • Johannes Giesecke & Roland Verwiebe, 2009. "The Changing Wage Distribution in Germany between 1985 and 2006," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 129(2), pages 191-201.
  • Handle: RePEc:aeq:aeqsjb:v129_y2009_i1_q1_p191-201

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lee, Sokbae & Wilke, Ralf A., 2009. "Reform of Unemployment Compensation in Germany: A Nonparametric Bounds Analysis Using Register Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27(2), pages 193-205.
    2. Waller, Marie, 2007. "Do reported end dates of treatments matter for evaluation results? : an investigation based on the German integrated employment biographies sample," FDZ Methodenreport 200701_en, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    3. Bernd Fitzenberger & Ralf A. Wilke, 2010. "Unemployment Durations in West Germany Before and After the Reform of the Unemployment Compensation System during the 1980s," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11, pages 336-366, August.
    4. Hummel, Elisabeth & Jacobebbinghaus, Peter & Kohlmann, Annette & Oertel, Martina & Wübbeke, Christina & Ziegerer, Manfred, 2005. "Stichprobe der Integrierten Erwerbsbiografien : IEBS 1.0, Handbuch-Version 1.0.0 (Integrated Employment Biographies Sample IEBS 1.0)," FDZ Datenreport. Documentation on Labour Market Data 200506_de, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
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    Cited by:

    1. Eichhorst, Werner & Marx, Paul & Tobsch, Verena, 2013. "Non-Standard Employment across Occupations in Germany: The Role of Replaceability and Labour Market Flexibility," IZA Discussion Papers 7662, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials


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