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Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority?

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  • Joseph Altonji
  • R. Shakotko

Abstract

The extent to which wages rise with the accumulation of seniority(tenure) in a firm after one controls for total labor market experience is a fundamental question about the structure of earnings. A variety of studies have found a large, positive partial effect of tenure on wages. This paper re-examines the evidence using a simple instrumental variables scheme to deal with well known estimation biases which arise from the fact that tenure is likely to be related to unobserved individual and job characteristics affecting the wage. We use the variation of tenure over a given job match as the principal instrumental variable for tenure. The variation intenure over the job, in contrast to variation in tenure across individuals and jobs, is uncorrelated by construction with the fixed individual specific and job match specific components of the error term of the wage equation. Our main findingis that the partial effect of tenure on wages is small, and that general labor market experience and job shopping in the labor market account for most wage growth over a career. The strong cross section relationship between tenure and wages is due primarily to heterogeneity bias.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. in its series Working Papers with number 567.

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Date of creation: Apr 1985
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Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:dsp01vt150j25d

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Related research

Keywords: wages; job tenure; experience; heterogeneity bias;

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References

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  1. J. A. Hausman & W. E. Taylor, 1980. "Panel Data and Unobservable Individual Effects," Working papers 255, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Ann P. Bartel & George J. Borjas, 1981. "Wage Growth and Job Turnover: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 65-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Pencavel, John H, 1972. "Wages, Specific Training, and Labor Turnover in US Manufacturing Industries," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(1), pages 53-64, February.
  5. James N. Brown, 1983. "Are Those Paid More Really No More Productive? Measuring the Relative Importance of Tenure Versus On-The-Job Training in Explaining Wage Growth," Working Papers 549, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  6. James J. Heckman, 1981. "Heterogeneity and State Dependence," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 91-140 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. repec:fth:prinin:169 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. James L. Medoff & Katharine G. Abraham, 1981. "Are Those Paid More Really More Productive? The Case of Experience," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 16(2), pages 186-216.
  9. Duncan, Greg J & Hoffman, Saul, 1979. "On-the-Job Training and Earnings Differences by Race and Sex," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 61(4), pages 594-603, November.
  10. Maddala, G S, 1971. "The Use of Variance Components Models in Pooling Cross Section and Time Series Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(2), pages 341-58, March.
  11. Sherwin Rosen, 1985. "Implicit Contracts: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 1635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Hashimoto, Masanori, 1981. "Firm-Specific Human Capital as a Shared Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 475-82, June.
  13. Wu, De-Min, 1973. "Alternative Tests of Independence Between Stochastic Regressors and Disturbances," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 733-50, July.
  14. Gary S. Becker, 1962. "Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 9.
  15. Farrell Bloch & Mark S. Kuskin, 1978. "Wage determination in the union and nonunion sectors," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 31(2), pages 183-192, January.
  16. Ann P. Bartel, 1980. "Wages, Nonwage Job Characteristics, and Labor Mobility," NBER Working Papers 0552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Guasch, J Luis & Weiss, Andrew, 1982. "An Equilibrium Analysis of Wage-Productivity Gaps," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 485-97, October.
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