Working in family firms: less paid but more secure? Evidence from French matched employer-employee data
AbstractWe study the compensation package offered by family firms. Using matched employer-employee data for a sample of French establishments in the 2000s, we first show that family firms pay on average lower wages to their workers. This family/non-family wage gap is robust to controlling for several establishment and individual characteristics and does not appear to be due either to the differential of productivity between family and non-family firms or to unobserved establishment and individual heterogeneity. Moreover, it is relatively homogeneous across workers with different gender, educational attainment and age. By contrast, the family/non-family wage gap is found to be larger for clerks and blue-collar workers than for managers, supervisors and technicians, for whom we find no significant wage gap. As a second step, we investigate why workers stay in family firms while being paid less. We show that these firms offer greater job security. We find evidence that the rate of dismissal is lower in family than in non-family firms. We also show that family firms rely less on dismissals and more on hiring reductions when they downsize. These results are confirmed by subjective data: the perceived risk of dismissal is significantly lower in family firms than in non-family ones. We speculate that our results can be explained either by a compensating wage differential story or by a model in which workers sort in different firms according to their preferences.
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Date of creation: Nov 2010
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family firms ; wages ; job security ; linked employer-employee data;
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