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Employer size-wage effects: evidence from matched employer-employee survey data in the UK

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Author Info

  • Clive Belfield
  • Xiangdong Wei

Abstract

This paper employs a random sample of matched employer-employee data from the UK to test seven possible explanations for the positive relationship between employer size and pay. Individual wage equations show a large employer size-wage premium. We then control for a range of establishment-level variables, based on seven hypotheses typically advanced to explain this premium. Each establishment-level factor reduces the wage premium, but a sizeable premium nonetheless remains. In adjudicating on these hypotheses, we find a strong association between the internal labour market and the employer size-wage premium. This finding supports the theory that the employer size-wage effect may be due to the higher costs of turnover or monitoring in larger firms. However, we find contrasting effects for public versus private sector establishments.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 36 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 185-193

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Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:36:y:2004:i:3:p:185-193

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  1. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1989. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1027-59, October.
  2. Dunne, Timothy & Schmitz, James A, Jr, 1995. "Wages, Employment Structure and Employer Size-Wage Premia: Their Relationship to Advanced-Technology Usage at US Manufacturing Establishments," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 62(245), pages 89-107, February.
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  5. Christoph Schmidt & Klaus Zimmerman, 1990. "Work Characteristics, Firm Size and Wages," Working Papers 644, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  6. Main, Brian G M & Reilly, Barry, 1993. "The Employer Size-Wage Gap: Evidence for Britain," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 60(238), pages 125-42, May.
  7. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-83, May.
  8. John Addison & Stanley Siebert & Joachim Wagner & Xiangdong Wei, 2000. "Worker Participation and Firm Performance: Evidence from Germany and Britain," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 38(1), pages 7-48, 03.
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  10. Kenneth R. Troske & Kimberly Bayard, 1999. "Examining the Employer-Size Wage Premium in the Manufacturing, Retail Trade, and Service Industries Using Employer-Employee Matched Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 99-103, May.
  11. Rebitzer, James B & Taylor, Lowell J, 1995. "Efficiency Wages and Employment Rents: The Employer-Size Wage Effect in the Job Market for Lawyers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 678-708, October.
  12. Walter Y. Oi & Todd L. Idson, 1999. "Workers Are More Productive in Large Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 104-108, May.
  13. Siebert, W S & Addison, J T, 1991. "Internal Labour Markets: Causes and Consequences," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 76-92, Spring.
  14. 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.
  15. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Dimitris Pavlopoulos & Didier Fouarge, 2010. "Escaping low pay: do male labour market entrants stand a chance?," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 31(8), pages 908-927, November.
  2. Bayo-Moriones, Alberto & Galdon-Sanchez, Jose Enrique & Martinez-de-Morentin, Sara, 2008. "What Are the Factors Behind Pay Settlements? Evidence from Spanish and British Data," IZA Discussion Papers 3401, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Wenshu Gao & Russell Smyth, 2011. "Firm size and wages in China," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(4), pages 353-357.
  4. C. J. Krizan & Adela Luque & Alice Zawacki, 2014. "The Effect Of Employer Health Insurance Offering On The Growth And Survival Of Small Business Prior To The Affordable Care Act," Working Papers 14-22, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

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