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Returns to Tenure or Seniority?

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Author Info

  • Sebastian Buhai

    ()
    (Aarhus School of Business, University of Aarhus, Denmark, and Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Miguel Portela

    (University of Minho, Portugal)

  • Coen N. Teulings

    ()
    (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, The Hague, and University of Amsterdam)

  • Aico van Vuuren

    (VU University Amsterdam)

Abstract

This study documents two empirical regularities, using data for Denmark and Portugal. First, workers who are hired last, are the first to leave the firm (Last In, First Out; LIFO). Second, workers’ wages rise with seniority (= a worker’s tenure relative to the tenure of her colleagues). We seek to explain these regularities by developing a dynamic model of the firm with stochastic product demand and hiring cost (= irreversible specific investments). There is wage bargaining between a worker and its firm. Separations (quits or layoffs) obey the LIFO rule and bargaining is efficient (a zero surplus at the moment of separation). The LIFO rule provides a stronger bargaining position for senior workers, leading to a return to seniority in wages. Efficiency in hiring requires the workers’ bargaining power to be in line with their share in the cost of specific investment. Then, the LIFO rule is a way to protect their property right on the specific investment. We consider the effects of Employment Protection Legislation and risk aversion.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 08-010/3.

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Date of creation: 22 Jan 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20080010

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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

Related research

Keywords: irreversible investment; efficient bargaining; seniority; LIFO; matched employer-employee data; EPL;

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References

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  1. Christian Dustmann & Costas Meghir, 2005. "Wages, Experience and Seniority," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 77-108.
  2. Topel, Robert H & Ward, Michael P, 1992. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 439-79, May.
  3. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-45, March.
  4. Sebastian Buhai & Coenraad N. Teulings, 2006. "Tenure Profiles and Efficient Separation in a Stochastic Productivity Model," CESifo Working Paper Series 1688, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  6. Joseph G. Altonji & Nicolas Williams, 1997. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority? A Reassessment," NBER Working Papers 6010, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Dixit, A., 1988. "Entry And Exit Decisions Under Uncertainty," Papers 91, Princeton, Department of Economics - Financial Research Center.
  8. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
  9. Lazear, Edward P, 1981. "Agency, Earnings Profiles, Productivity, and Hours Restrictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 606-20, September.
  10. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  11. Bertrand, Marianne & Mullainathan, Sendhil, 2003. "Enjoying the Quiet Life? Corporate Governance and Managerial Preferences," Scholarly Articles 3429713, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Moshe Buchinsky & Denis Foug�re & Francis Kramarz & Rusty Tchernis, 2010. "Interfirm Mobility, Wages and the Returns to Seniority and Experience in the United States," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(3), pages 972-1001.
  13. Kuhn, Peter, 1988. "A Nonuniform Pricing Model of Union Wages and Employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 473-508, June.
  14. Costas Meghir & Luigi Pistaferri, 2004. "Income Variance Dynamics and Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 1-32, 01.
  15. Cabral, Luís M B & Mata, José, 2001. "On the Evolution of the Firm Size Distribution: Facts and Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 3045, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Kuhn, Peter & Robert, Jacques, 1989. "Seniority and Distribution in a Two-Worker Trade Union," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(3), pages 485-505, August.
  17. Joseph G. Altonji & Robert A. Shakotko, 1985. "Do Wages Rise With Job Seniority?," NBER Working Papers 1616, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Bentolila, Samuel & Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad Is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402, July.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Anja Deelen, 2011. "Wage-Tenure Profiles and Mobility," CPB Discussion Paper 198, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  2. Bovenberg, Lans & Teulings, Coen, 2008. "Rhineland Exit?," IZA Discussion Papers 3626, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Anja Deelen, 2012. "Wage-Tenure Profiles and Mobility," De Economist, Springer, vol. 160(2), pages 141-155, June.
  4. Natália P. Monteiro & Paulo Bastos, 2009. "Managers and wage policies," NIPE Working Papers 2/2009, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
  5. Elena Cottini & Paolo Ghinetti, 2012. "Working Conditions, Lifestyles and Health," Economics Working Papers 2012-28, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  6. Alexandre, Fernando & Portela, Miguel & Sá, Carla, 2008. "Admission Conditions and Graduates' Employability," IZA Discussion Papers 3530, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. von Below, David & Thoursie, Peter, 2008. "Last in, first out? Estimating the effect of seniority rules in Sweden," Working Paper Series 2008:27, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  8. Coen Teulings, 2010. "How to Share Our Risks Efficiently? Principles for Optimal Social Insurance and Pension Provision," De Economist, Springer, vol. 158(1), pages 1-21, April.

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