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Measurements and Determinants of Pay Inequality and its Impacts on Firms Performance in Vietnam


  • Nam Tran-Quy
  • Almas Heshmati

    () (Technology Management, Economics, and Policy Program (TEMEP), Seoul National University)


This study is an empirical investigation of causal factors of pay inequality and its relationship with firm performance using firm level data in Vietnam. Both nonparametric and parametric approaches are used for the purpose. The Gini coefficient and Theil-T index are employed to measure pay inequality. Linear and quadratic models are specified to identify determinants of pay inequality and to investigate the relationship between pay inequality and firm performance. The empirical results, based on a large sample of Vietnamese firms, suggest that capital-intensive sectors pay more equal wages than labour-intensive sectors while regions with a higher urbanization rate and economic development pay their employees quite unequally. The determinant factors contributing to pay inequality are firm size, volume of assets, share of temporary workers, debt ratio, provincial competitiveness and the market size. We also find a positive relationship between firm performance and pay inequality, which gives support to the ¡°tournament¡± theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Nam Tran-Quy & Almas Heshmati, 2009. "Measurements and Determinants of Pay Inequality and its Impacts on Firms Performance in Vietnam," TEMEP Discussion Papers 200930, Seoul National University; Technology Management, Economics, and Policy Program (TEMEP), revised Nov 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:snv:dp2009:200930

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
    2. Tran, Thi Bich & Grafton, R. Quentin & Kompas, Tom, 2009. "Institutions matter: The case of Vietnam," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 1-12, January.
    3. Michael P. Keane, 1993. "Individual Heterogeneity and Interindustry Wage Differentials," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(1), pages 134-161.
    4. Murphy, Kevin M & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1989. "Industrialization and the Big Push," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1003-1026, October.
    5. Martins, Pedro S., 2008. "Dispersion in wage premiums and firm performance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 63-65, October.
    6. Ehrenberg, Ronald G & Bognanno, Michael L, 1990. "Do Tournaments Have Incentive Effects?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1307-1324, December.
    7. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1998. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1169-1213.
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    More about this item


    Pay inequality; firms; determinants; performance; Vietnam;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • P27 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Performance and Prospects

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