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Does it pay to be productive? The case of age groups

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  • Alessandra Cataldi
  • Stephan Kampelmann
  • François Rycx

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to evaluate empirically the relationship between workforce age, wage and productivity at the firm level. Design/methodology/approach – Panel data techniques are applied to Belgian data on private sector workers and firms during 1999-2006. Findings – Results (robust to various potential econometric issues, including unobserved firm heterogeneity, endogeneity and state dependence) suggest that older workers are significantly less productive than prime age and young workers. In contrast, the productivity of middle-aged workers is not found to be significantly different compared to young workers. Findings further indicate that average hourly wages within firms increase significantly with workers’ age. Overall, this leads to the conclusion that young (older) workers appear to be “underpaid” (“overpaid”). Originality/value – These findings contribute to the growing literature on how the workforce age structure affects productivity and wages.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal International Journal of Manpower.

Volume (Year): 33 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (March)
Pages: 264-283

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Handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:33:y:2012:i:3:p:264-283

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Related research

Keywords: Belgium; Linked panel data; Pay structures; Private sector organizations; Productivity; Wages; Workforce age;

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References

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  1. Benoit Dostie, 2007. "Wages, Productivity and Aging," CIRANO Working Papers 2007s-02, CIRANO.
  2. Torbjørn Hægeland & Tor Jakob Klette, 1997. "Do Higher Wages Reflect Higher Productivity? Education, Gender and Experience Premiums in a Matched Plant-Worker Data Set," Discussion Papers 208, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  3. Thierry Lallemand & François Rycx, 2009. "Are Older Workers Harmful for Firm Productivity?," De Economist, Springer, vol. 157(3), pages 273-292, September.
  4. Irene Bertschek & Jenny Meyer, 2008. "Do Older Workers Lower IT-Enabled Productivity? Firm-Level Evidence from Germany," DRUID Working Papers 08-17, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  5. Ana Cardoso & Paulo Guimarães & José Varejão, 2011. "Are Older Workers Worthy of Their Pay? An Empirical Investigation of Age-Productivity and Age-Wage Nexuses," De Economist, Springer, vol. 159(2), pages 95-111, June.
  6. Axel H. Boersch-Supan & Alexander Ludwig, 2010. "Old Europe ages: Reforms and Reform Backlashes," NBER Working Papers 15744, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Johnson, William R, 1978. "A Theory of Job Shopping," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 261-78, May.
  8. Pekka Ilmakunnas & Mika Maliranta, 2005. "Technology, Labour Characteristics and Wage-productivity Gaps," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 67(5), pages 623-645, October.
  9. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Grund, Christian & Westergård-Nielsen, Niels, 2005. "Age Structure of the Workforce and Firm Performance," Working Papers 05-10, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  11. Vegard Skirbekk, 2003. "Age and individual productivity: a literature survey," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2003-028, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  12. Julia I. Lane & John C. Haltiwanger & James Spletzer, 1999. "Productivity Differences across Employers: The Roles of Employer Size, Age, and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 94-98, May.
  13. Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark, 2004. "Production Function and Wage Equation Estimation with Heterogeneous Labor: Evidence from a New Matched Employer-Employee Data Set," NBER Working Papers 10325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Edward P. Lazear & Paul Oyer, 2007. "Personnel Economics," NBER Working Papers 13480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Göbel, Christian & Zwick, Thomas, 2009. "Age and productivity: evidence from linked employer employee data," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-020, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  16. Malmberg, Bo & Lindh, Thomas & Halvarsson, Max, 2005. "Productivity consequences of workforce ageing - Stagnation or a Horndal effect?," Arbetsrapport 2005:17, Institute for Futures Studies.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Garnero, Andrea & Kampelmann, Stephan & Rycx, Francois, 2013. "Part-time Work, Wages and Productivity: Evidence from Belgian Matched Panel Data," IZA Discussion Papers 7789, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Lang, Julia, 2012. "The aims of lifelong learning: Age-related effects of training on wages and job security," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62073, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  3. Garnero, Andrea & Rycx, Francois, 2013. "The Heterogeneous Effects of Workforce Diversity on Productivity, Wages and Profits," IZA Discussion Papers 7350, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Julia Lang, 2012. "The Aims of Lifelong Learning: Age-Related Effects of Training on Wages and Job Security," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 478, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

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