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Real Wages, Wage Inequality and the Regional Cost-of-living in the UK

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  • Cinzia, Rienzo

Abstract

University graduates in the UK are more concentrated in regions where the cost of housing is higher, implying that they face a higher cost-of-living that could possibly reduce the graduate real wage relative to other groups and carry implications for measures of wage dispersion. This paper reassesses how estimates of wage inequality from 1997 to 2008 vary when regional differences in the cost of housing in the UK are taken into consideration. In order to do so, the real wage is deflated by a specially constructed regional Retail Price Index (RPI); this is a new measure of the cost-of-living that partially updates the national RPI with a regional housing index, therefore allowing the RPI to vary by regions. Results show that the national RPI underestimates the cost-of-living of workers living in the most expensive regions (London, South East) and overestimates the cost-of-living for “cheaper” regions (Northern Ireland, Scotland). When deflating hourly wages by the regional RPI, the average level of wages is lower from 8% to 11% an hour for all workers in London and the South East, but is higher (from 2% to 9%) in the remaining regions; similarly the college –high school wage gap decreases form 6 to 13% in levels when deflating wages by the real regional RPI.

Suggested Citation

  • Cinzia, Rienzo, 2010. "Real Wages, Wage Inequality and the Regional Cost-of-living in the UK," MPRA Paper 36390, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Oct 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:36390
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    cost-of-living; wages; wage inequality; RPI;

    JEL classification:

    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics
    • C0 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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