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Understanding inter-industry wage structures in the euro area

  • Genre, Véronique
  • Kohn, Karsten
  • Momferatou, Daphne

This paper focuses on the euro area wage structure and its potential determinants from a sectoral viewpoint. Merging information from the OECD Structural Analysis database with data from the EU Labour Force Survey, we construct a cross-country panel of 22 industries in 8 euro area countries for 1991-2002. Data inspection confirms the existence of a fairly stable inter- industry wage structure that is similar across countries. We then apply panel data techniques to identify factors explaining inter-industry wage differentials in the euro area. Both workforce characteristics (e.g., human capital variables) and firm-related characteristics (e.g., capital intensity, productivity) contribute significantly. However, considerable wage heterogeneity across sectors remains. Idiosyncratic sector and country specifics, reflecting different sociocultural and institutional backgrounds, appear to bear a major role. While our paper only uses direct evidence from workforce and firm-related characteristics, we also try to relate the remaining heterogeneity to institutional characteristics, based on available relevant literature. JEL Classification: J31, J24, J51

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1022.

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Date of creation: Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20091022
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