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Changes in the Structure of Earnings During the Polish Transition

60 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2002  

Michael P. Keane

Arizona State University (ASU) - Economics Department; University of Technology, Sydney (Visiting July 2006-Present)

Eswar S. Prasad

Cornell University - Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management; Cornell University - Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; NBER; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Date Written: May 2002

Abstract

We document changes in the structure of earnings during the economic transition in Poland. We find that inequality in labor earnings increased substantially from 1988 to 1996. A common view is that the reallocation of workers from a public sector with a compressed wage distribution, to a private sector with much higher wage inequality, accounts for the bulk of increased earnings inequality during transition. However, our decomposition of the sources of the increase in inequality suggests that this compositional effect accounts for only 39% of the increase. Fully 52% of the increase is due to the increase in the variance of wages within sectors. That is, earnings inequality within both the private and public sectors grew substantially, and by similar amounts. This illustrates how even state-owned enterprises in Poland moved towards competitive wage setting as they restructured.

A substantial part of the increase in earnings inequality was between group, due largely to increased education premia. However, changes in inequality within education-experience gender groups account for about 60 percent of the increase in overall wage inequality--similar to the patterns observed in the U.S. and U.K. in the 1980s. But, in contrast to the U.S. and U.K. experiences, increases in within-group inequality in Poland were very different across skill groups, with much larger increases for highly educated workers. These patterns hold in both the private and public sectors, although increases in education premia were somewhat greater in the private sector.

Keywords: Wage Inequality, Between and Within-group Inequality, Education and Experience Premia, Labor Reallocation, Transition

JEL Classification: J31, O33, P20

Suggested Citation

Keane, Michael P. and Prasad, Eswar S., Changes in the Structure of Earnings During the Polish Transition (May 2002). IZA Discussion Paper No. 496. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=314221

Michael P. Keane

Arizona State University (ASU) - Economics Department ( email )

Tempe, AZ 85287-3806
United States

University of Technology, Sydney (Visiting July 2006-Present)

PO Box 123 Broadway
NSW 2007
Australia
480-965-1053 (Phone)
480-965-0748 (Fax)

Eswar S. Prasad (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management ( email )

440 Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

HOME PAGE: http://prasad.aem.cornell.edu

Cornell University - Department of Economics ( email )

414 Uris Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7601
United States

Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

NBER ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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