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Pay inequality and firm performance: evidence from matched employer-employee data

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  • Fredrik Heyman

Abstract

A large matched employer-employee data set for Sweden is used to test several predictions from tournament theory. For white-collar workers a positive and significant effect of intra-firm wage dispersion on profits and average pay is found, using various measures of wage dispersion. This result is robust for controlling for firm differences in human capital and firm fixed-effects as well as for instrumenting the wage dispersion variable to take into account endogeneity of wage dispersion. Using data on around 10 000 managers, a positive and significant association between pay dispersion and profits is also found for executives. Further results include a positive relationship between market demand volatility and wage dispersion, measured as coefficient of variation in managerial pay, and a negative effect of the number of managers (contestants) on managerial pay spread. The first two results are in accordance with predictions from tournament theory, while the last one is not.

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File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00036840500142101
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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 37 (2005)
Issue (Month): 11 ()
Pages: 1313-1327

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Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:37:y:2005:i:11:p:1313-1327

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  1. Eriksson, Tor, 1999. "Executive Compensation and Tournament Theory: Empirical Tests on Danish Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 262-80, April.
  2. Mahmood Arai, 2003. "Wages, Profits, and Capital Intensity: Evidence from Matched Worker-Firm Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(3), pages 593-618, July.
  3. Moene, Karl Ove & Wallerstein, Michael, 1997. "Pay Inequality," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages 403-30, July.
  4. Hibbs, Douglas A, Jr & Locking, Hakan, 2000. "Wage Dispersion and Productive Efficiency: Evidence for Sweden," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(4), pages 755-82, October.
  5. Levine, David I., 1991. "Cohesiveness, productivity, and wage dispersion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 237-255, March.
  6. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf & Zweimüller, Josef, 1997. "Intra-firm Wage Dispersion and Firm Performance," CEPR Discussion Papers 1621, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Rosen, Sherwin, 1986. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 701-15, September.
  9. Bingley, Paul & Eriksson, Tor, 2001. "Pay Spread and Skewness, Employee Effort and Firm Productivity," Working Papers 01-2, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  10. James S. Ang & Shmuel Hauser & Beni Lauterbach, 1998. "Contestability and Pay Differential in the Executive Suites," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 4(3), pages 335-360.
  11. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
  12. Main, Brian G M & O'Reilly, Charles A, III & Wade, James, 1993. "Top Executive Pay: Tournament or Teamwork?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(4), pages 606-28, October.
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