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In 2015 a group of around forty researchers was formed to consider the main issues around wages. This network was named WAGE i. e. Wage Analysis in a Globalising Environment (Analyse Salariale dans un Environnement Globalisé). Incorporating over ten European Universities (e. g. Paris, London, Arras, Lille, Amsterdam, Bochum, Padua etc.), it combines economists, historians and, in the near future, sociologists. WAGE is deliberately intercontinental (Morocco, Uruguay, India, Malaysia, Russia, etc.).

The WAGE network aims to include various partners involved in wage analysis and wage setting. One main partner is the International Labour Organization (Geneva), which is the UN body in charge of labour issues (working conditions, industrial relations, etc.).

Backed by MESHS Lille (Maison Européenne des Sciences Humaines et Sociales), the network obtained funding from the (French) National Research Agency (2015-17) and the Community of Universities of Nord-Pas-de-Calais (2015-16). It will try to apply to a European project between 2018 and 2020.

In order to obtain a solid research proposal, the WAGE’s work is organized in a set of conferences or workshops: Marrakech (March 2015), Arras (April), Geneva (ILO, July), Kyoto (WEHC, August), Padua (Nov), Arras (March 2016), Geneva (ILO, July), Kuala Lumpur (Nov), Amsterdam (Nov), Marrakech (April 2017), then Montevideo (Oct. 2017) and Moscow (April 2018). These workshops are intended to provide communications and discussions on topics intended to be included in the European proposal. In between workshops, the work continues between members with internet (drafts, emails etc.).

It includes a core team of permanent members and a network of casual collaborators. At this stage of its organization and financing, it cannot recruit doctoral candidates or post-doctoral fellows.

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WAGE develops three main research areas :

1. Global convergence of regional wage

. General wage trends over the long term and convergence analysis

. Wages and economics, wages and technological progress

. Wages and migrations, segmentations of the international labour market

2. Wage dispersion/inequalities and the issue of a decent wage

. Main wage gaps: inter-deciles, gender gap, low wage rates

. Categories of vulnerable employees: wages of youth, of migrants, wages and income of the elderly

3. Salary strategies and wage policies

. Workforce qualification and educational policies

. Labour relations and wages: trade unions and employers' organizations

. Government and local government policy on wages

. Household and individual wage strategies


It deals with a triple questioning:

1. Global wages convergence

SAccording to (HOS) Heckscher-Ohlin-Samuelson model about equalization of factor prices, ILO noted in Global Wage Report 2014-15, p. 20, a convergence between national average wages since 2000, but before? Between 1950 and 1980, wages in advanced economies have grown faster than those of the emerging countries. The situation is reversed in the 1980s. Simultaneity or causality?

2. Wage dispersion and inequalities: increasing or decreasing?

We will pay special attention to: inter-decile differences (D9/D1), minimum wage and gender wage gap. There are also substantial differences in average salaries (PPP) within Europe (about 1 to 3) and between Europe and emerging countries (1 to 7). These differences help to explain some of the migration flows to Europe.

3. Public policies of wages or wage strategy of companies: better wages?

We will examine several salient examples of wages in our research: changes in industrial relations, wage strategies of firms, public policies and household strategies.


As deliverables, WAGE plans to create:

  • a website dedicated to salaries,
  • an inventory of publications on wages and archives concerning their history,
  • elements of an international database on wages since 1950,
  • recommendation notes for companies, employees and the public authorities to improve a more positive wage strategy.

A first major publication from the network is forthcoming soon: Wages and globalisation since the 1950s: convergence and disparities, Berne, Peter Lang, late 2017 or 2018.

One can say that WAGE’s work seeks to contribute to a better comprehension of the wage system and to a reduction in wage inequality in general.

Last Workshop

International Symposium

30-31 October 2017

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