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The Polish wage inequality explosion


  • Andrew Newell
  • Mieczyslaw W. Socha


This paper presents and analyses the sharp increase in hourly wage inequality after 1998 in Poland. The increase was similar in magnitude to the much-studied increase in British wage inequality during the 1980s. Using data from the Polish Labour Force Survey, we find this increase to be associated with rising wage differentials and within-group variances at both the upper and lower ends of the wage distribution. These increases are associated with differences in wage-setting patterns between the public and private sector as well as with the rapid increase in demand for educated labour. One important difference between the sectors is the lack of an impact of local labour market conditions, or wage curve, clearly evident in private sector wages, on public sector wages. Copyright (c) 2007 The Authors Journal compilation (c) 2007 The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development .

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Newell & Mieczyslaw W. Socha, 2007. "The Polish wage inequality explosion," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 15, pages 733-758, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:etrans:v:15:y:2007:i::p:733-758

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Branko Milanovic, 1999. "Explaining the increase in inequality during transition," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 7(2), pages 299-341, July.
    2. James J. Heckman, 1976. "The Common Structure of Statistical Models of Truncation, Sample Selection and Limited Dependent Variables and a Simple Estimator for Such Models," NBER Chapters,in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 4, pages 475-492 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Oi, Walter Y. & Idson, Todd L., 1999. "Firm size and wages," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 33, pages 2165-2214 Elsevier.
    4. Newell, Andrew & Reilly, Barry, 2001. "The gender pay gap in the transition from communism: some empirical evidence," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 287-304, December.
    5. Koenker,Roger, 2005. "Quantile Regression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521845731, March.
    6. Keane, Michael P. & Prasad, Eswar S., 2006. "Changes in the structure of earnings during the Polish transition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 389-427, August.
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    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • P23 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Factor and Product Markets; Industry Studies; Population


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