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Tenure and Output

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  • Kathryn Shaw
  • Edward P. Lazear

Abstract

A key tenet of the theory of human capital is that investment in skills results in higher productivity. The previous literature has estimated the degree of investment in human capital for individuals by looking at individual wage growth as a proxy for productivity growth. In this paper, we have both wage and personal productivity data, and thus are able to measure of the increase in workers' output with tenure. The data is from an autoglass company. Most of production occurs at the individual level so measures of output are clear. We find a very steep learning curve in the year on the job: output is 53 percent higher after one year than it is initially when hired. These output gains with tenure are not reflected in equal percentage pay gains: pay profiles are much flatter than output profiles in the first year and a half on the job. For these data, using wage profiles significantly underestimates the amount of investment compared to the gains evident in output-tenure profiles. The pattern of productivity rising more rapidly than pay reverses after two years of tenure. Worker selection is also important. Workers who stay longer have higher output levels and faster early learning.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13652.

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Date of creation: Nov 2007
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Publication status: published as Shaw, Kathryn & Lazear, Edward P., 2008. "Tenure and output," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 704-723, August.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13652

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  1. Hellerstein, Judith K & Neumark, David, 1999. "Sex, Wages, and Productivity: An Empirical Analysis of Israeli Firm-Level Data," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(1), pages 95-123, February.
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  7. 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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  9. Altonji, Joseph G & Shakotko, Robert A, 1987. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 437-59, July.
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  14. Robert Gibbons & Michael Waldman, 2004. "Task-Specific Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 203-207, May.
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  16. Hutchens, Robert M, 1989. "Seniority, Wages and Productivity: A Turbulent Decade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 49-64, Fall.
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Cited by:
  1. Grip Andries de & Sauermann Jan & Sieben Inge, 2011. "The role of peers in estimating tenure-performance profiles: Evidence from personnel data," ROA Research Memorandum 014, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  2. Daniel van Vuuren & Paul de Hek, 2010. "Are older workers overpaid? A literature review," CPB Discussion Paper 165, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  3. Andries De Grip & Jan Sauermann, 2012. "The Effects of Training on Own and Co‐worker Productivity: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(560), pages 376-399, 05.
  4. 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.
  5. Nakabayashi, Masaki, 2011. "Schooling, employer learning, and internal labor market effect: Wage dynamics and human capital investment in the Japanese steel industry, 1930-1960s," MPRA Paper 30597, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Merlino, Luca Paolo & Parrotta, Pierpaolo & Pozzoli, Dario, 2014. "Gender Differences in Sorting," Working Papers 01-2014, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics.
  7. Christian Pfeifer, 2009. "Adjustment of Deferred Compensation Schemes, Fairness Concerns, and Hiring of Older Workers," Working Paper Series in Economics 151, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  8. Pfeifer, Christian, 2009. "An Intra-Firm Perspective on Wage Profiles and Employment of Older Workers with Special Reference to Human Capital and Deferred Compensation," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-413, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.

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