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Changes in Korean Wage Inequality, 1980−2005

  • Kang, Byung-Goo

    ()

    (Inha University)

  • Yun, Myeong-Su

    ()

    (Tulane University)

Korea is known not only for rapid economic growth but also relatively low wage inequality. It is one of the few countries in which wage inequality decreased during the 1980s, though in recent years wage inequality has increased. This paper studies what factors contributed to the changes in wage inequality during the last two decades. This paper implements a recently developed Oaxaca-type inequality decomposition method to decompose "U" shaped changes in inequality into characteristics (quantity), coefficients (price) and residuals effects at both overall and detailed levels. The results of decomposition analysis show that changes in the wage structure significantly contribute to the changes in wage inequality in Korea. The coefficients effect of human capital factors has played a major role not only in increasing wage inequality from mid-1990s, but also decreasing wage inequality in 1980s and early 1990s.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3780.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3780
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  1. Rosen, Sherwin, 1997. "Manufactured Inequality," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 189-96, April.
  2. David Neumark, 1988. "Employers' Discriminatory Behavior and the Estimation of Wage Discrimination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(3), pages 279-295.
  3. Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Increasing Residual Wage Inequality: Composition Effects, Noisy Data, or Rising Demand for Skill?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 461-498, June.
  4. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 8769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
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  7. Shorrocks, A F, 1982. "Inequality Decomposition by Factor Components," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 193-211, January.
  8. Karoly, Lynn A, 1992. "Changes in the Distribution of Individual Earnings in the United States: 1967-1986," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(1), pages 107-15, February.
  9. Ira N. Gang & Myeong-Su Yun, 2002. "Decomposing Inequality Change in East Germany During Transition," Departmental Working Papers 200220, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  10. Yun, Myeong-Su, 2004. "Decomposing differences in the first moment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 275-280, February.
  11. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1, 07.
  12. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2008. "Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Revising the Revisionists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 300-323, May.
  13. Fields, Gary S & Yoo, Gyeongjoon, 2000. "Falling Labor Income Inequality in Korea's Economic Growth: Patterns and Underlying Causes," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(2), pages 139-59, June.
  14. Ronald Oaxaca, 1971. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," Working Papers 396, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  15. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  16. TH Gindling & Juan Diego Trejos, 2005. "Accounting for Changing Earnings Inequality in Costa Rica, 1980-99," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(5), pages 898-926.
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