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Wage Inequality and Returns to Skill in Taiwan, 1978-96

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  • Chun-Hung Lin
  • Peter Orazem

Abstract

Since 1980, income inequality has risen faster in Taiwan than in the United States. Inequality rose despite a rapid increase in the share of educated workers in the labour market that might have been expected to depress returns to education. Returns to a college education rose in Taiwan for all but the least experienced college graduates who were the most substitutable by the large new cohorts of college graduates. This pattern of changes in relative employment and relative wages is consistent with persistent shifts in relative demand toward skilled labour. The shifts are not sector-specific as might have been the case if shifts in trade flows were responsible for the shifts in relative wages. Growth of relative employment of more-educated workers occurred in all sectors of the economy, consistent with the hypothesis of skill-biased technical change. These results are similar to findings reported for OECD countries, suggesting that Taiwan has been exposed to the same types of skill-biased shifts in relative labour demand as in Europe and North America.

Suggested Citation

  • Chun-Hung Lin & Peter Orazem, 2003. "Wage Inequality and Returns to Skill in Taiwan, 1978-96," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(5), pages 89-108.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:39:y:2003:i:5:p:89-108
    DOI: 10.1080/00220380412331333159
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chen, Been-Lon & Hsu, Mei, 2001. "Time-Series Wage Differential in Taiwan: The Role of International Trade," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(2), pages 336-354, June.
    2. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2001. "Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 705-746.
    3. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
    4. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1993. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 4255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-1381, September.
    6. Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence M, 1996. "International Differences in Male Wage Inequality: Institutions versus Market Forces," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 791-836, August.
    7. Robert H. Topel, 1997. "Factor Proportions and Relative Wages: The Supply-Side Determinants of Wage Inequality," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 55-74, Spring.
    8. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1998. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1169-1213.
    9. Jong-Il You, 1998. "Income distribution and growth in East Asia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(6), pages 37-65.
    10. Halvorsen, Robert & Palmquist, Raymond, 1980. "The Interpretation of Dummy Variables in Semilogarithmic Equations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 474-475, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anthony Stair, 2007. "Marital Wage Premium or Ability Selection? The Case of Taiwan 1979-2003," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 10(15), pages 1-11.
    2. repec:jed:journl:v:42:y:2017:i:3:p:61-88 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Yu-Chen Kuo, 2008. "Wage Inequality and Propensity to Marry after 1980 in Taiwan," International Journal of Business and Economics, College of Business and College of Finance, Feng Chia University, Taichung, Taiwan, vol. 7(3), pages 231-248, December.
    4. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:10:y:2007:i:15:p:1-11 is not listed on IDEAS

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