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Explaining wage inequality in telecommunications services: Customer segmentation, human resource practices, and union decline

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  • Rosemary Batt
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    Abstract

    This study examines factors related to within-occupation wage inequality among service and sales workers in the telecommunications industry. The author draws on a 1998 survey of a nationally representative sample of 354 service and sales centers in the industry to examine the relative importance of management practices and union institutions in shaping wage variation. The results strongly indicate that the design of work, technology, and incentives explains variation in wages over and above that explained by the skills of the work force, suggesting that these factors are important determinants of the efficiency with which existing human capital is harnessed. After controlling for markets, organizational characteristics, and other variables, the author finds that business strategy explains about 19% of wage variation; measures of human capital, 18%; and variation in the use of technology and human resource practices, 7.3%. The union wage premium is 22%. (Author's abstract.)

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.

    Volume (Year): 54 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 2 (March)
    Pages: 425-449

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    Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:54:y:2001:i:2:p:425-449

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    Cited by:
    1. Sandra E. Black & Lisa M. Lynch, 2005. "Measuring Organizational Capital in the New Economy," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring Capital in the New Economy, pages 205-236 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Frederick Guy & Peter Skottz, 2005. "Power-Biased Technological Change and the Rise in Earnings Inequality," Working Papers 06, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    3. Frederick Guy & Peter Skott, 2007. "Information and communications technologies,coordination and control, and the distribution of income," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2007-11, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    4. Bauer, Thomas K. & Bender, Stefan, 2001. "Flexible Work Systems and the Structure of Wages: Evidence from Matched Employer-Employee Data," IZA Discussion Papers 353, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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