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The Long-term Impact of the 1995 Hanshin–Awaji Earthquake on Wage Distribution


  • Ohtake, Fumio

    () (Osaka University)

  • Okuyama, Naoko

    () (Kobe University)

  • Sasaki, Masaru

    () (Osaka University)

  • Yasui, Kengo

    () (Ritsumeikan University)


This paper explores the effects of the 1995 Hanshin–Awaji Earthquake on the wages of people in the area of the earthquake over the 17 years after its occurrence and identified which part of the wage distribution has been most affected by this event by comparing the wage distributions of disaster victims and non-victims. To do this, we used three decomposition methods, developed by (i) Oaxaca (1973) and Blinder (1973); (ii) DiNardo, Fortin, and Lemieux (1996) ("DFL"); and (iii) Machado and Mata (2005) and Melly (2006). Our findings are as follows. First, the Oaxaca and Blinder decomposition analysis shows that the negative impact of the earthquake still affects the mean wages of male workers. Second, the DFL decomposition analysis shows that middle-wage males would have earned more had the 1995 Hanshin–Awaji Earthquake not occurred. Finally, the Machado–Mata–Melly decomposition analysis shows that the earthquake had a large, adverse impact on the wages of middle-wage males, and that their wages have been reduced since the earthquake, by 5.0–8.6%. This result is similar to that from the DFL decomposition analysis. In the case of female workers, a long-term negative impact of the earthquake was also observed as the wages of high-wage females were reduced by 8.3–13.8%.

Suggested Citation

  • Ohtake, Fumio & Okuyama, Naoko & Sasaki, Masaru & Yasui, Kengo, 2014. "The Long-term Impact of the 1995 Hanshin–Awaji Earthquake on Wage Distribution," IZA Discussion Papers 8124, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8124

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Arturo Galindo & Alejandro Izquierdo & Liliana Rojas-Suarez, 2010. "Financial Integration and Foreign Banks in Latin America: How Do They Impact the Transmission of External Financial Shocks?," Research Department Publications 4651, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    2. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
    3. Yasuyuki Sawada & Satoshi Shimizutani, 2007. "Consumption insurance against natural disasters: evidence from the Great Hanshin-Awaji (Kobe) earthquake," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 303-306.
    4. Mark Skidmore & Hideki Toya, 2002. "Do Natural Disasters Promote Long-Run Growth?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(4), pages 664-687, October.
    5. Yasuyuki Sawada & Satoshi Shimizutani, 2008. "How Do People Cope with Natural Disasters? Evidence from the Great Hanshin-Awaji (Kobe) Earthquake in 1995," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(2-3), pages 463-488, March.
    6. Crespo Cuaresma & Hlouskova & Obersteiner, 2008. "Natural Disasters As Creative Destruction? Evidence From Developing Countries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(2), pages 214-226, April.
    7. Eduardo Cavallo & Andrew Powell & Oscar Becerra, 2010. "Estimating the Direct Economic Damages of the Earthquake in Haiti," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(546), pages 298-312, August.
    8. José Mata & José A. F. Machado, 2005. "Counterfactual decomposition of changes in wage distributions using quantile regression," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 445-465.
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    Cited by:

    1. Xu, Hangtian, 2016. "Multiple Equilibria in the Urban Spatial Structure: Evidence from the Hanshin Earthquake," MPRA Paper 75219, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    natural disasters; wage distribution; wage decomposition; earthquake;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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