Wage inequality in Turkey, 2002-10

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Bakış O., Polat S.

ECONOMICS OF TRANSITION, vol.23, no.1, pp.169-212, 2015 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 23 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/ecot.12058
  • Title of Journal : ECONOMICS OF TRANSITION
  • Page Numbers: pp.169-212
  • Keywords: Wage inequality, wage structure, labour demand, decomposition, Turkey, DISPERSION, RETURNS, DEMAND, SKILLS, 1980S


This paper studies the evolution of wage inequality in Turkey using household labour force survey data from 2002 to 2010. Between 2002 and 2004, the relative supply of more-educated workers to less-educated workers remained constant while their relative wages decreased in favour of less-educated workers. However, between 2004 and 2010, the relative supply of more-educated workers to less-educated workers rose, while their relative wages remained constant or kept increasing in favour of more-educated workers. This suggests factors other than those implied by a simple supply-demand model are involved, such as skill-biased technical change or minimum wage variations. The decomposition of wage inequality reveals that the price (wage) effect dominates the composition effect particularly in the first period. Our results show that the real minimum wage hike in 2004 corresponds to a major institutional change, which proved to be welfare-increasing in terms of wage inequality. The upper-tail (90/50) wage inequality decreased between 2002 and 2004 and stayed constant thereafter, whereas the lower-tail (50/10) wage inequality decreased throughout the period. Our findings thus provide evidence supporting the institutional argument for explaining wage inequality.