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The Employer Size-Wage Effect

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  • Charles Brown
  • James L. Medoff

Abstract

We consider six explanations for the positive relationship between employer size and wages -- large employers (1) hire higher quality workers; (2) offer inferior working conditions; (3) make more use of high wages to forestall unionization; (4) have more ability to pay high wages; (5) face smaller pools of applicants relative to vacancies; (6) are less able to monitor their workers. We find some support for the first of these, but there remains a significant wage premium for those working for large employers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2870.

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Date of creation: Dec 1989
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Publication status: published as Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 97, No. 5, pp. 1027-1059, (October 1989)
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2870

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  1. Zvi Griliches & Jerry A. Hausman, 1984. "Errors in Variables in Panel Data," NBER Technical Working Papers 0037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. James E. Pearce, 1985. "Specific training, unions, and the relationship between employer size and wages," Working Papers 8504, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  3. Yellen, Janet L, 1984. "Efficiency Wage Models of Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 200-205, May.
  4. Lazear, Edward P, 1986. "Salaries and Piece Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 405-31, July.
  5. Harry J. Holzer & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1988. "Job Queues and Wages: New Evidence on the Minimum Wage and Inter-Industry Wage Structure," NBER Working Papers 2561, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Weiss, Andrew & Landau, Henry J, 1984. "Wages, Hiring Standards, and Firm Size," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(4), pages 477-99, October.
  7. Mellow, Wesley, 1982. "Employer Size and Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(3), pages 495-501, August.
  8. Garen, John E, 1985. "Worker Heterogeneity, Job Screening, and Firm Size," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 715-39, August.
  9. Pugel, Thomas A, 1980. "Profitability, Concentration and the Interindustry Variation in Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(2), pages 248-53, May.
  10. David S. Evans & Linda S. Leighton, 1989. "Why Do Smaller Firms Pay Less?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(2), pages 299-318.
  11. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  12. Dennis J. Aigner & Glen G. Cain, 1977. "Statistical theories of discrimination in labor markets," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(2), pages 175-187, January.
  13. Masters, Stanley H, 1969. "An Interindustry Analysis of Wages and Plant Size," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 341-45, August.
  14. Richard B. Freeman, 1981. "The effect of unionism on fringe benefits," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(4), pages 489-509, July.
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