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Returns to Tenure or Seniority?

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Author Info

  • Buhai, Sebastian

    ()
    (Aarhus School of Business)

  • Portela, Miguel

    ()
    (University of Minho)

  • Teulings, Coen

    ()
    (University of Cambridge)

  • van Vuuren, Aico

    ()
    (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 Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3302.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: forthcoming in: Econometrica
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3302

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Related research

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

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Dustmann, Christian & Meghir, Costas, 1999. "Wages, Experience and Seniority," CEPR Discussion Papers 2077, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Buhai, Sebastian & Teulings, Coen, 2006. "Tenure Profiles and Efficient Separation in a Stochastic Productivity Model," IZA Discussion Papers 1997, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Joseph G. Altonji & Robert A. Shakotko, 1985. "Do Wages Rise With Job Seniority?," NBER Working Papers 1616, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Costas Meghir & Luigi Pistaferri, 2001. "Income variance dynamics and heterogenity," IFS Working Papers W01/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  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. Dixit, Avinash K, 1989. "Entry and Exit Decisions under Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 620-38, June.
  14. 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.
  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. 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.
  17. Lazear, Edward P, 1981. "Agency, Earnings Profiles, Productivity, and Hours Restrictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 606-20, September.
  18. 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. 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.
  2. Bovenberg, A Lans & Teulings, Coen N, 2008. "Rhineland Exit?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6645, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Elena Cottini & Paolo Ghinetti, 2012. "Working Conditions, Lifestyles and Health," Economics Working Papers 2012-28, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  4. Alexandre, Fernando & Portela, Miguel & Sá, Carla, 2008. "Admission Conditions and Graduates' Employability," IZA Discussion Papers 3530, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Paulo Bastos & Natália P. Monteiro, 2011. "Managers and Wage Policies," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(4), pages 957-984, December.
  6. 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.
  7. Anja Deelen, 2012. "Wage-Tenure Profiles and Mobility," De Economist, Springer, vol. 160(2), pages 141-155, June.
  8. Anja Deelen, 2011. "Wage-Tenure Profiles and Mobility," CPB Discussion Paper 198, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

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