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Earnings dynamics, foreign workers and the stability of inequality trends in Luxembourg 1988-2009

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  • SOLOGON Denisa
  • VAN KERM Philippe

Abstract

This paper exploits a large-scale administrative dataset to document trends in male earnings inequality in Luxembourg over twenty years of rapid economic growth. A detailed error components model is estimated to identify persistent and transitory components of log hourly earnings variance. Given the importance of foreign labour in Luxembourg, models and inequality trends are distinguished between native, immigrant and cross-border workers. Surprisingly, we observe only a modest increase in overall hourly earnings inequality between 1988 and 2009. This apparent stability is however the net result of somewhat more complex underlying changes, with marked increases in persistent inequality (except among native workers), growing contribution of foreign workers, divergence across subgroups, and a decrease in earnings instability (primarily for native workers). Overall, we interpret these results as showing a surprising stability in the face of the industrial re-development, the changes in the size and structure of employment, and the fast growth that characterized the country's economy in this period. Such results possibly hint at the role of strict labour market regulations and collective bargaining institutions in holding back earnings inequality, at least in a period of fast economic growth and soaring demand for labour.

Suggested Citation

  • SOLOGON Denisa & VAN KERM Philippe, 2014. "Earnings dynamics, foreign workers and the stability of inequality trends in Luxembourg 1988-2009," LISER Working Paper Series 2014-03, LISER.
  • Handle: RePEc:irs:cepswp:2014-03
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    Cited by:

    1. Giesecke, Matthias & Bönke, Timm & Lüthen, Holger, 2011. "The Dynamics of Earnings in Germany: Evidence from Social Security Records," Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48692, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. VAN KERM Philippe & YU Seunghee & CHOE Chung, 2014. "Wage differentials between native, immigrant and cross-border workers: Evidence and model comparisons," LISER Working Paper Series 2014-05, LISER.
    3. Mirko Felchner, 2015. "Einkommensdynamik bei Selbständigen als Freie Berufe und abhängig Beschäftigte Eine dynamische Paneldatenschätzung mit Daten des Sozio-oekonomischen Panels," FFB-Discussionpaper 101, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)), LEUPHANA University Lüneburg.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    earnings dynamics; persistent inequality; transitory inequality; cross-border workers; immigrant workers; Luxembourg;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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