Inequality in Total Returns to Work in Ukraine: Taking a Closer Look at Workplace (Dis)Amenities

This paper examines the importance of non-monetary dimensions of work in studies of overall compensation inequality. Relying on the methodological advances in the field of multidimensional inequality and using the representative sample of Ukrainian industrial establishments over the period from 1994 to 2004, we show that the focus on monetary compensation is too narrow. It ignores significant dynamics of inequality in workplaces. Analysis of such workplace conditions as risk of on the job injury, various benefits/amenities, and insecurities with wage payments, shows that the in-equalities in these conditions do exacerbate inequalities in hourly wages.

Workers in establishments paying highest hourly wages have enjoyed relatively greater reductions in the total workplace injury burden, greater retention of various benefits/ amenities, and relatively larger increases in wage payment security (decreased wage arrears), compared to the workers in the lowest paying establishments. These findings present an important lesson for further research on inequality inasmuch as a narrow focus on wages actually disguise the growing inequality in overall returns to work, as well as considerable implications for the development of social policies.

Olena Y. Nizalova

PhD in Labor Economics, Econometrics, Health Economics, Michigan State University; Assistant Professor of Economics on the Kyiv School of Economics

  • Topic of the paper:Inequality in Working Conditions: Ukrainian Experience
  • Research interests: