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Decomposition of Changes in Korean Wage Inequality, 1998–2007

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  • Pallab Kumar Ghosh

    (University of Oklahoma)

  • Jae Yoon Lee

    (Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade)

Abstract

South Korea experienced a steep increase in wage inequality between the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and the global financial crisis in 2008. This paper investigates the causes of the sharp change during that time period by looking at the contributions of changes in the distributions of schooling and unionization. The effects are estimated applying two robust distributional function based decomposition methods on Korean Labor and Panel Survey data for the time period 1998–2007. The results suggest changes in the distribution of schooling can explain about 10 % of the changes in the 90/50 percentile wage gap. The declining unionization rate does not have much impact on the upward trend of Korean wage inequality. In addition, aggregate decomposition results suggest that changes in labor force composition can explain a significant proportion of the total wage changes in the upper-tail of the distribution. Based on our findings we provide a list of policy recommendations to address the wage inequality issue in Korea.

Suggested Citation

  • Pallab Kumar Ghosh & Jae Yoon Lee, 2016. "Decomposition of Changes in Korean Wage Inequality, 1998–2007," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 1-28, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jlabre:v:37:y:2016:i:1:d:10.1007_s12122-015-9217-9
    DOI: 10.1007/s12122-015-9217-9
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    1. Vladimir Hlasny, 2017. "Different Faces of Inequality across Asia: Decomposition of Income Gaps across Demographic Groups," LIS Working papers 691, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wage distribution function; Decomposition method; 50/10 and 90/50 percentile wage gaps;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models

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