IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/wdevel/v93y2017icp153-176.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Inequality Between and Within Skill Groups: The Curious Case of India

Author

Listed:
  • Goel, Manisha

Abstract

Wage inequality has risen in India over the past three decades. A similar phenomenon has been documented widely for other developing countries. However, unlike in other countries, which saw widening wage structures both between and within skill groups, I show that inequality in India increased between groups but fell within them over the period 1983–2005. Returns to education increased with the wages of college graduates rising relative to high school graduates who, in turn, earned increasingly more than less educated workers. But workers within education groups witnessed lower wage dispersion over time. Defining demographic groups more narrowly, by additionally including characteristics such as experience, gender, industry, and state, among others, regression results show that inequality increased between them while simultaneously declining within them, as indicated by a compression of the residual wage inequality. Decomposition analysis attributes the decline in wage dispersion within groups to falling returns to unobservable characteristics. This, previously undocumented, divergent trend in inequality between and within skill groups in India cannot be explained by the three main arguments in the extant literature for why developing countries have witnessed a rise in wage inequality in recent decades following trade liberalization—greater imports of skill-complementary technology, offshoring, and reallocation of skilled labor toward exporting firms. I provide several pieces of suggestive evidence to argue that reduction in labor market frictions and growth in offshored tasks from developed countries that are routine in content, but performed by high-skilled workers, can lead to the divergent trends in inequality between and within groups. Compositional changes in the labor force do not account for the inequality patterns witnessed in India.

Suggested Citation

  • Goel, Manisha, 2017. "Inequality Between and Within Skill Groups: The Curious Case of India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 153-176.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:93:y:2017:i:c:p:153-176
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2016.12.024
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305750X1530259X
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.worlddev.2016.12.024?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Philippe Aghion & Robin Burgess & Stephen J. Redding & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2008. "The Unequal Effects of Liberalization: Evidence from Dismantling the License Raj in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1397-1412, September.
    2. Chamarbagwala, Rubiana, 2006. "Economic Liberalization and Wage Inequality in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(12), pages 1997-2015, December.
    3. Eric A. Verhoogen, 2008. "Trade, Quality Upgrading, and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 489-530.
    4. Petia Topalova, 2010. "Factor Immobility and Regional Impacts of Trade Liberalization: Evidence on Poverty from India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 1-41, October.
    5. Gabriel Felbermayr & Giammario Impullitti & Julien Prat, 2018. "Firm Dynamics and Residual Inequality in Open Economies," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 16(5), pages 1476-1539.
    6. Naércio Aquino Menezes-Filho & Marc-Andreas Muendler & Garey Ramey, 2008. "The Structure of Worker Compensation in Brazil, with a Comparison to France and the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 324-346, May.
    7. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2003. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1268-1290, September.
    8. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Firms in International Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 105-130, Summer.
    9. Nina Pavcnik, 2002. "Trade Liberalization, Exit, and Productivity Improvements: Evidence from Chilean Plants," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 245-276.
    10. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
    11. Panagariya, Arvind, 2011. "India: The Emerging Giant," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199751563.
    12. Becker, Sascha O. & Ekholm, Karolina & Muendler, Marc-Andreas, 2013. "Offshoring and the onshore composition of tasks and skills," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 91-106.
    13. repec:pri:rpdevs:deaton_price_trends_in_india_and_their_implications_for_measuring_poverty is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Hartmut Egger & Udo Kreickemeier, 2017. "Firm Heterogeneity and the Labor Market Effects of Trade Liberalization," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: International Trade and Labor Markets Welfare, Inequality and Unemployment, chapter 10, pages 265-306, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    15. Attanasio, Orazio & Goldberg, Pinelopi K. & Pavcnik, Nina, 2004. "Trade reforms and wage inequality in Colombia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 331-366, August.
    16. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Stephen Redding, 2010. "Inequality and Unemployment in a Global Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1239-1283, July.
    17. Eli Bekman & John Bound & Stephen Machin, 1998. "Implications of Skill-Biased Technological Change: International Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1245-1279.
    18. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2004. "Can Labor Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 91-134.
    19. Dale T. Mortensen, 2005. "Wage Dispersion: Why Are Similar Workers Paid Differently?," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262633191.
    20. Gene Grossman, 2013. "Heterogeneous workers and international trade," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 149(2), pages 211-245, June.
    21. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2007. "Distributional Effects of Globalization in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(1), pages 39-82, March.
    22. J. Bradford Jensen & Lori G. Kletzer, 2010. "Measuring Tradable Services and the Task Content of Offshorable Services Jobs," NBER Chapters, in: Labor in the New Economy, pages 309-335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Fernando Parro, 2013. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and the Skill Premium in a Quantitative Model of Trade," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 72-117, April.
    24. Firpo, Sergio & Fortin, Nicole M. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2011. "Occupational Tasks and Changes in the Wage Structure," IZA Discussion Papers 5542, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    25. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning & Anna Salomons, 2014. "Explaining Job Polarization: Routine-Biased Technological Change and Offshoring," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(8), pages 2509-2526, August.
    26. Pravin Krishna & Jennifer P. Poole & Mine Zeynep Senses, 2012. "Trade, Labor Market Frictions, and Residual Wage Inequality across Worker Groups," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 417-423, May.
    27. Alan S. Blinder, 2009. "How Many US Jobs Might be Offshorable?," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 10(2), pages 41-78, April.
    28. Berman, Eli & Machin, Stephen, 2000. "Skill-Based Technology Transfer around the World," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 12-22, Autumn.
    29. Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Increasing Residual Wage Inequality: Composition Effects, Noisy Data, or Rising Demand for Skill?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 461-498, June.
    30. Sampson, Thomas, 2014. "Selection into trade and wage inequality," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 59287, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    31. Puja Vasudeva Dutta, 2005. "Accounting for Wage Inequality in India," PRUS Working Papers 29, Poverty Research Unit at Sussex, University of Sussex.
    32. Acemoglu, Daron & Autor, David, 2011. "Skills, Tasks and Technologies: Implications for Employment and Earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 12, pages 1043-1171, Elsevier.
    33. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Stephen Redding, 2010. "Unequal Effects of Trade on Workers with Different Abilities," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(2-3), pages 421-433, 04-05.
    34. Angus Deaton & Olivier Dupriez, 2011. "Spatial price differences within large countries," Working Papers 1321, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
    35. James Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explanations With A Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings With Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 1-58, January.
    36. repec:pri:rpdevs:spatial_price_differences_in_large_countries-_10-jul_2011_complete is not listed on IDEAS
    37. Ariel Burstein & Javier Cravino & Jonathan Vogel, 2013. "Importing Skill-Biased Technology," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 32-71, April.
    38. Petia Topalova, 2007. "Trade Liberalization, Poverty and Inequality: Evidence from Indian Districts," NBER Chapters, in: Globalization and Poverty, pages 291-336, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    39. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    40. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2008. "Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Revising the Revisionists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 300-323, May.
    41. Christopher Flinn & Joseph Mullins, 2015. "Labor Market Search And Schooling Investment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 56, pages 359-398, May.
    42. Thomas Sampson, 2014. "Selection into Trade and Wage Inequality," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 157-202, August.
    43. repec:pri:rpdevs:deaton_price_trends_in_india_version_3_jan_08_all.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
    44. Kijima, Yoko, 2006. "Why did wage inequality increase? Evidence from urban India 1983-99," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 97-117, October.
    45. Ms. Prachi Mishra & Mr. Utsav Kumar, 2005. "Trade Liberalization and Wage Inequality: Evidence From India," IMF Working Papers 2005/020, International Monetary Fund.
    46. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou & Pavcnik, Nina, 2005. "Trade, wages, and the political economy of trade protection: evidence from the Colombian trade reforms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 75-105, May.
    47. Gordon H. Hanson & Ann Harrison, 1999. "Trade Liberalization and Wage Inequality in Mexico," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(2), pages 271-288, January.
    48. Joy Mazumdar & Myriam Quispe-Agnoli, 2004. "Can capital-skill complementarity explain the rising skill premium in developing countries? evidence from Peru," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2004-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    49. Naércio Aquino Menezes-Filho & Marc-Andreas Muendler & Garey Ramey, 2008. "The Structure of Worker Compensation in Brazil, with a Comparison to France and the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 324-346, May.
    50. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-442, June.
    51. Zhu, Susan Chun & Trefler, Daniel, 2005. "Trade and inequality in developing countries: a general equilibrium analysis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 21-48, January.
    52. Mary Amiti & Donald R. Davis, 2012. "Trade, Firms, and Wages: Theory and Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 1-36.
    53. Pavcnik, Nina, 2003. "What explains skill upgrading in less developed countries?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 311-328, August.
    54. Davidson, Carl & Matusz, Steven J. & Shevchenko, Andrei, 2008. "Globalization and firm level adjustment with imperfect labor markets," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 295-309, July.
    55. Hogrefe, Jan, 2013. "Offshoring and relative labor demand from a task perspective," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-067, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    56. Xing, Chunbing & Li, Shi, 2012. "Residual wage inequality in urban China, 1995–2007," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 205-222.
    57. Montek S. Ahluwalia, 2002. "Economic Reforms in India Since 1991: Has Gradualism Worked?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 67-88, Summer.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Shweta Bahl & Ajay Sharma, 2021. "Education–Occupation Mismatch and Dispersion in Returns to Education: Evidence from India," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 153(1), pages 251-298, January.
    2. Almås, Ingvild & Kjelsrud, Anders, 2017. "Rags and Riches: Relative Prices, Non-Homothetic Preferences, and Inequality in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 102-121.
    3. Maqbool H. Sial & Ghulam Sarwar & Mubashra Saeed, 2019. "Surplus Education and Earnings Differentials in Pakistan: A Quantile Regression Analysis," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 24(2), pages 93-114, July-Dec.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Muendler, Marc-Andreas, 2017. "Trade, technology, and prosperity: An account of evidence from a labor-market perspective," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2017-15, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    2. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Marc-Andreas Muendler & Stephen J. Redding, 2017. "Trade and Inequality: From Theory to Estimation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(1), pages 357-405.
    3. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Stephen Redding, 2010. "Inequality and Unemployment in a Global Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1239-1283, July.
    4. Helpman, Elhanan, 2016. "Globalization and Wage Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 11701, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Antràs, Pol & de Gortari, Alonso & Itskhoki, Oleg, 2017. "Globalization, inequality and welfare," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 387-412.
    6. Swati Dhingra & Gianmarco Ottaviano & Veronica Rappoport & Thomas Sampson & Catherine Thomas, 2018. "UK trade and FDI: A post‐Brexit perspective," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(1), pages 9-24, March.
    7. Monte, Ferdinando, 2011. "Skill bias, trade, and wage dispersion," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 202-218, March.
    8. Kasahara, Hiroyuki & Liang, Yawen & Rodrigue, Joel, 2016. "Does importing intermediates increase the demand for skilled workers? Plant-level evidence from Indonesia," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 242-261.
    9. Taiji Furusawa & Hideo Konishi & Duong Lam Anh Tran, 2020. "International Trade and Income Inequality," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 122(3), pages 993-1026, July.
    10. Goldberg, Pinelopi & Pavcnik, Nina, 2016. "The Effects of Trade Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 11104, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Harris, Richard G. & Robertson, Peter E., 2013. "Trade, wages and skill accumulation in the emerging giants," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 407-421.
    12. Baumgarten, Daniel, 2013. "Exporters and the rise in wage inequality: Evidence from German linked employer–employee data," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 201-217.
    13. Yoshimichi Murakami, 2018. "Globalization and Income Inequality in Latin America: A Review of Theoretical Developments and Recent Evidence," Discussion Paper Series DP2018-16, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University, revised Aug 2018.
    14. Krishna, Pravin & Poole, Jennifer P. & Senses, Mine Zeynep, 2014. "Wage Effects of Trade Reform with Endogenous Worker Mobility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 239-252.
    15. Wenxiao Wang & Christopher Findlay & Shandre Thangavelu, 2021. "Trade, technology, and the labour market: impacts on wage inequality within countries," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 35(1), pages 19-35, May.
    16. Gnangnon, Sèna Kimm, 2020. "Aid for Trade flows and Wage Inequality in the manufacturing sector of recipient-countries," EconStor Preprints 213936, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    17. Hoekman & Bernard & Winters, L. Alan, 2005. "Trade and employment : stylized facts and research findings," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3676, The World Bank.
    18. Pi, Jiancai & Zhang, Pengqing, 2018. "Skill-biased technological change and wage inequality in developing countries," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 347-362.
    19. A. Kerem Co?ar & Nezih Guner & James Tybout, 2016. "Firm Dynamics, Job Turnover, and Wage Distributions in an Open Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(3), pages 625-663, March.
    20. Gallego, Francisco A., 2012. "Skill Premium in Chile: Studying Skill Upgrading in the South," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 594-609.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:93:y:2017:i:c:p:153-176. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.