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Wage and Productivity Premiums in Sub-Saharan Africa

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  • Johannes Van Biesebroeck

Abstract

Using a matched employer-employee data set of manufacturing plants in three sub-Saharan countries, I compare the marginal productivity of different categories of workers with the wages they earn. A methodological contribution is to estimate the firm level production function jointly with the individual level wage equation using a feasible GLS estimator. The additional information of individual workers leads to more precise estimates, especially of the wage premiums, and to a more accurate test. The results indicate that equality holds strongly for the most developed country in the sample (Zimbabwe), but not at all for the least developed country (Tanzania). Moreover, the breakdown in correct remuneration in the two least developed countries follows a distinct pattern. On the one hand, wage premiums exceed productivity premiums for general human capital characteristics (experience and schooling). On the other hand, salaries hardly increase for more firm-specific human capital characteristics (tenure and training), even though these have a clear productivity effect.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13306.

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Date of creation: Aug 2007
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Publication status: published as Wage and Productivity Premiums in Sub-Saharan Africa , Johannes Van Biesebroeck. in The Analysis of Firms and Employees: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches , Bender, Lane, Shaw, Andersson, and von Wachter. 2008
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13306

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  1. Judith Hellerstein & David Neumark, 2004. "Production Function and Wage Equation Estimation with Heterogenous Labor: Evidence from a New Matched Employer-Employee Dataset," Working Papers 04-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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  4. Naércio Aquino Menezes Filho & Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2007. "Labor Reallocation in Response to Trade Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 1936, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Bigsten, Arne, et al, 2000. "Rates of Return on Physical and Human Capital in Africa's Manufacturing Sector," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(4), pages 801-27, July.
  6. Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2003. "Wages Equal Productivity: Fact or Fiction?," NBER Working Papers 10174, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Eslava, Marcela & Haltiwanger, John & Kugler, Adriana & Kugler, Maurice, 2004. "The effects of structural reforms on productivity and profitabality enhancing reallocation: evidence from Colombia," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0408, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  8. Torbjørn Hægeland & Tor Jakob Klette, 1997. "Do Higher Wages Reflect Higher Productivity? Education, Gender and Experience Premiums in a Matched Plant-Worker Data Set," Discussion Papers 208, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  9. Jones, Patricia, 2001. "Are educated workers really more productive?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 57-79, February.
  10. Lorraine Dearden & Howard Reed & John Van Reenen, 2006. "The Impact of Training on Productivity and Wages: Evidence from British Panel Data," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 68(4), pages 397-421, 08.
  11. James Tybout, 1998. "Manufacturing Firms In Developing Countries: How Well Do They Do, And Why?," Development and Comp Systems 9805004, EconWPA.
  12. Fafchamps, Marcel, 1997. "Introduction: Markets in sub-saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 733-734, May.
  13. Van Biesebroeck, Johannes, 2005. "Firm Size Matters: Growth and Productivity Growth in African Manufacturing," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(3), pages 545-83, April.
  14. Bruno Crépon & Nicolas Deniau & Sébastien Pérez-Duarte, 2003. "Wages, Productivity and Worker Characteristics : A French Perspective," Working Papers 2003-04, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  15. Paul Collier & Marcel Fafchamps & Francis Teal & Stefan Dercon, 1998. "Rates of return on physical and human capital in Africa`s manufacturing sector," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1998-12, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Fox, Louise & Oviedo, Ana Maria, 2008. "Are skills rewarded in Sub-Saharan Africa ? determinants of wages and productivity in the manufacturing sector," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4688, The World Bank.
  2. Pekka Ilmakunnas & Seija Ilmakunnas, 2011. "Diversity at the Workplace: Whom Does it Benefit?," De Economist, Springer, vol. 159(2), pages 223-255, June.
  3. Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2007. "Wages Equal Productivity. Fact or Fiction?," Working Papers tecipa-294, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  4. Cristian Bartolucci, 2010. "Understanding the Native-Immigrant Wage Gap Using Matched Employer-Employee Data. Evidence from Germany," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 150, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  5. Haelermans, Carla & Borghans, Lex, 2011. "Wage Effects of On-the-Job Training: A Meta-Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 6077, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Irarrazabal, Alfonso & Moxnes, Andreas & Ulltveit-Moe, Karen-Helene, 2009. "Heterogeneous firms or heterogeneous workers? Implications for the exporter premium and the impact of labor reallocation on productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 7577, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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