During the past fifteen years, a unique wage structure emphasizing consistency and equity has developed in the USSR. Soviet Wages is the only detailed description and analysis of contemporary earnings determination for Soviet industrial workers. The study focuses on the period since 1956, during which the entire wage system has undergone a major restructuring.
In contrast to "market forces," which are usually taken to be the main determinant of wage differentiation in Western economies, this book demonstrates how explicit quantifiable standards have been utilized for setting wages in the USSR. The resultant pattern of earnings has shown an increasing internal consistency during recent years. Skill differentials, differentials for working conditions, incentive payments, and the impact of recent reforms in economic administration receive especially detailed attention.
From the innumerable scattered sources in this difficult area, Professor Kirsch has assembled a clear picture of the Soviet principles of wage administration and resulting wage differentials. He answers such central questions as: What principles of wage administration and job evaluation determine the indicated differentials? How have these changed with wage reform? What are the results in terms of the actual statistical differentials?
A concluding chapter evaluates Soviet wage setting within the framework for western labor economics, while brief appendixes discuss measurement of inter-industry differentials and aggregate measures of earnings inequality.