What is behind low wages in Central and Eastern Europe?

Jan Drahokoupil, Agnieszka Piasna, European Trade Union Institute, Belgium

Pages: 3 – 25

Abstract

This paper compares wages across Europe in relation to the characteristics of workers and firms, with a particular focus on wage levels in central and eastern European countries. Worker and workplace endowments can be taken as a proxy for labour productivity. We estimate the extent to which wage differences observed at an aggregate level can be related to the different compositions of workforces and workplaces, as well as the types of jobs conducted in separate countries. We also decompose the observed differences in returns on endowments by identifying the sectors and occupational categories that contribute most to the wage gaps observed at the aggregate level.

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