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High Compensation Creates a Ratchet Effect

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  • Hans Gersbach
  • Amihai Glazer

Abstract

Consider a firm which pays a (credit-constrained) worker for his effort over two periods. The more the firm pays in one period, the wealthier is the worker in the following period, and so the more he must then be paid for a given effort. We describe the profit-maximising contract under these conditions, showing how this wealth-ratchet effect can raise wages over time, and cause the firm to fire older workers. Copyright � The Author(s). Journal compilation � Royal Economic Society 2009.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 119 (2009)
Issue (Month): 539 (07)
Pages: 1208-1224

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:119:y:2009:i:539:p:1208-1224

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  1. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
  2. Clark, Andrew E., 1999. "Are wages habit-forming? evidence from micro data," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 179-200, June.
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  5. Orazio P. Attanasio & Hilary W. Hoynes, 1995. "Differential Mortality and Wealth Accumulation," NBER Working Papers 5126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Drew Fudenberg & Bengt Holmstrom & Paul Milgrom, 1987. "Short-Term Contracts and Long-Term Agency Relationships," Working papers 468, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Murphy, K.J. & Gibbons, R., 1990. "Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns : Theory and Evidence," Papers 90-09, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
  8. Hellerstein, Judith K & Neumark, David & Troske, Kenneth R, 1999. "Wages, Productivity, and Worker Characteristics: Evidence from Plant-Level Production Functions and Wage Equations," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(3), pages 409-46, July.
  9. Medoff, James L & Abraham, Katharine G, 1980. "Experience, Performance, and Earnings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 703-36, December.
  10. Aron, Debra J, 1987. "Worker Reputation and Productivity Incentives," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(4), pages S87-106, October.
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  12. Joseph G. Altonji & Nicolas Williams, 1992. "The Effects of Labor Market Experience, Job Seniority, and Job Mobility on Wage Growth," NBER Working Papers 4133, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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