Survivors´ Pension Rights and Wages

Wages are not only money wages. For an employee, the wage consists of all the benefits that he or she is entitled to as a result of employment. His or her total remuneration for work is composed of money wages plus non-wage benefits such as earnings-related or employment-related insurance rights. In Europe, earnings-related insurance mainly takes the form of public and negotiated collective systems. Hence the individual value is hard to observe. This article is an original attempt to determine the individual value of certain public and negotiated insurance rights. A money value for earnings-related survivors´ pension rights is estimated and added to the money wage to create an extended wage measure. We use Swedish micro data to analyse what the inclusion of different insurance rights might mean for wage differentials and wage dispersion. The study indicates that wage inequality is understated when non-wage benefits in the form of survivors´ pension rights are excluded from the compensation measure and that a more complete picture of wage differentials is obtained when these rights are accounted for.