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The Structure of Earnings Inequality in the United States and Japan

Citation

Kalleberg, Arne L. & Lincoln, James R. (1988). The Structure of Earnings Inequality in the United States and Japan. American Journal of Sociology, 94, S121-153.

Abstract

This paper extends research on the structural sources of economic inequality by investigating the individual level, organizational, and industrial determinants of earnings in a sample of U.S. and Japanese manufacturing employees. The analysis-based on data collected from 98 plants in seven manufacturing industries in the United States and Japan and from over 8,000 of their managers, supervisors, and workers-provides strong evidence that work structures operating at multiple levels generate inequality in individuals' earnings. Moreover, a number of important and quite striking differences are found in the process of earnings determination in the United States and Japan. For example, American manufacturing employees' earnings are shaped heavily by job characteristics, positions in the authority hierarchy, and (for workers) union representation. The earnings of Japanese employees are conditioned more by "life-cycle" variables such as aged and by the organizational structures and processes associated with firm internal labor markets-seniority, promotions, and internal training.

URL

http://www.jstor.org/stable/2780244

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

1988

Journal Title

American Journal of Sociology

Author(s)

Kalleberg, Arne L.
Lincoln, James R.