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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. 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.
  2. Joseph Altonji & R. Shakotko, 1985. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority?," Working Papers 567, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Lu�s M B Cabral & Jos� Mata, 2003. "On the Evolution of the Firm Size Distribution: Facts and Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1075-1090, September.
  4. 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.
  5. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2003. "Enjoying the Quiet Life? Corporate Governance and Managerial Preferences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(5), pages 1043-1075, October.
  6. 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.
  7. Joseph G. Altonji & Nicolas Williams, 2005. "Do wages rise with job seniority? A reassessment," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(3), pages 370-397, April.
  8. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1988. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," NBER Working Papers 2649, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Meghir, Costas & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2002. "Income Variance Dynamics and Heterogeneity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3632, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Buhai, Sebastian & Teulings, Coen, 2005. "Tenure Profiles and Efficient Separation in a Stochastic Productivity Model," Working Papers 05-9, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics, revised 03 Oct 2006.
  11. John M. Abowd & David Card, 1986. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," NBER Working Papers 1832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Christian Dustmann & Costas Meghir, 1999. "Wages, experience and seniority," IFS Working Papers W99/01, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  14. Lazear, Edward P, 1981. "Agency, Earnings Profiles, Productivity, and Hours Restrictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 606-20, September.
  15. 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.
  16. Dixit, A., 1988. "Entry And Exit Decisions Under Uncertainty," Papers 91, Princeton, Department of Economics - Financial Research Center.
  17. Neal, Derek, 1995. "Industry-Specific Human Capital: Evidence from Displaced Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 653-77, October.
  18. 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.
  19. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
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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. Paulo Bastos & Natália P. Monteiro, 2011. "Managers and Wage Policies," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(4), pages 957-984, December.
  3. Lans Bovenberg & Coenraad N. Teulings, 2008. "Rhineland Exit?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2186, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Anja Deelen, 2012. "Wage-Tenure Profiles and Mobility," De Economist, Springer, vol. 160(2), pages 141-155, June.
  5. 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.
  6. Fernando Alexandre & Miguel Portela & Carla Sá, 2008. "Admission conditions and graduates' employability," NIPE Working Papers 16/2008, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
  7. Elena Cottini & Paolo Ghinetti, 2012. "Working Conditions, Lifestyles and Health," Economics Working Papers 2012-28, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  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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