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An Almost Ideal Wage Database Harmonizing the ILO October Inquiry




The lack of comprehensive, international comparable wage data has been deplored for decades and has constrained the empirical analysis of wage growth and inequality. This is the case although, since 1924, the International Labor Organization (ILO) has conducted an October Inquiry to obtain data on wages worldwide, which leads to an annual wage survey containing data for 161 occupations in over 130 countries. Freeman and Oostendorp (2000) have started a novel project to make use of the October Inquiry, which we update. We provide a documentation about the several steps taken to transfer the data into a comparable and usable form. The data allow analyzing wage growth and inequality in a comprehensive way. In this paper, we describe the way we converted the data and present some results on developments in the wage structure between and within countries and occupations.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniela Harsch & Jörn Kleinert, 2011. "An Almost Ideal Wage Database Harmonizing the ILO October Inquiry," IAW Discussion Papers 71, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
  • Handle: RePEc:iaw:iawdip:71

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard B. FREEMAN & Remco H. OOSTENDORP, 2001. "The Occupational Wages around the World data file," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 140(4), pages 379-401, December.
    2. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588, July.
    3. Richard B. Freeman & Remco Oostendorp, 2000. "Wages Around the World: Pay Across Occupations and Countries," NBER Working Papers 8058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item


    wage growth; cross section models; wage structure;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity


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