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Earnings of Men and Women Working in the Private Sector: Enriched Data for Pensions and Tax-Benefit Modeling


  • Anna Christina D'Addio


  • Herwig Immervoll



The OECD’s “Average-Wage” (AW) concept is commonly used as a benchmark for tax-benefit and pension modeling. The purpose of this paper is to examine whether it is possible to use richer sets of earnings data in order to customize these modeling exercises to the situation of different groups of workers, such as high or low-earning men or women. We first take stock of available sources of earnings distribution data and provide a careful assessment of measurement and definitional differences relative to the AW. In a second step, information on the shape of earnings distributions in OECD countries is used to derive synthetic distributions around the AW, distinguishing between the earnings of men and women. We argue that this pragmatic approach yields data that allow extending the scope of tax-benefit and pensions modelling. Moreover, it does so in a way that is consistent with past modeling exercises that relied on the AW. We highlight data quality issues and discuss the potential limitations of the imputed AW-consistent earnings distributions. Le concept de salaire moyen de l’OCDE (SM) est couramment utilisé comme référence pour la modélisation des impôs/prestations et des retraites. Le but de ce document est d'examiner s’il est possible d’utiliser de plus grands ensembles de données sur les salaires afin d’adapter ces exercices de modélisation à la situation de différents groupes d’actifs, tels que les hommes et les femmes ayant des revenus élevés ou bas. Dans un premier temps, on utilise les sources disponibles sur la répartition des revenus et on fournit une évaluation précise des différences de mesure et de définition concernant le salaire moyen, en faisant une distinction entre le revenu des hommes et celui des femmes. Selon nous, cette approche pragmatique permet d’obtenir des données qui dépassent le but fixé par la modélisation des impôts/prestation et des retraites. De plus, elle le fait en compatibilité avec les exercices de modélisation précédents qui se fondaient sur le SM. Nous mettons en évidence la question de la qualité des données et discutons des possibles limites de la répartition des revenus imputées sur les salaire moyens.

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Christina D'Addio & Herwig Immervoll, 2010. "Earnings of Men and Women Working in the Private Sector: Enriched Data for Pensions and Tax-Benefit Modeling," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 108, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:108-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Immervoll, Herwig & Richardson, Linda, 2011. "Redistribution Policy and Inequality Reduction in OECD Countries: What Has Changed in Two Decades?," IZA Discussion Papers 6030, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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