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Does it pay to be productive ?The case of age groups

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  • Alessandra Cataldi
  • Stephan Kampelmann
  • François Rycx

Abstract

Using longitudinal matched employer-employee data for the period 1999-2006, we investigate the relationship between age, wage and productivity in the Belgian private sector. More precisely, we examine how changes in the proportions of young (16-29 years), middle-aged (30-49 years) and older (more than 49 years) workers affect the productivity of firms and test for the presence of productivity-wage gaps. Results (robust to various potential econometric issues, including unobserved firm heterogeneity, endogeneity and state dependence) suggest that workers older than 49 are significantly less productive than prime age and young workers. In contrast, the productivity of middle-age workers is not found to be significantly different compared to young workers. Findings further indicate that average hourly wages within firms increase significantly and monotonically with age. Overall, this leads to the conclusion that young workers are paid below their marginal productivity while older workers appear to be “overpaid” and lends empirical support to theories of deferred compensation over the life-cycle (Lazear, 1979).

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series Working Papers CEB with number 11-032.

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Length: 28 p.
Date of creation: Aug 2011
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Publication status: Published by:
Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/95807

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Keywords: Wages; Productivity; Aging; Matched panel data;

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References

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  1. Axel Börsch-Supan & Alexander Ludwig, 2010. "Old Europe Ages: Reforms and Reform Backlashes," NBER Chapters, in: Demography and the Economy, pages 169-204 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Malmberg, Bo & Lindh, Thomas & Halvarsson, Max, 2005. "Productivity consequences of workforce ageing - Stagnation or a Horndal effect?," Arbetsrapport 2005:17, Institute for Futures Studies.
  5. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Personnel Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121883, December.
  6. Dostie, Benoit, 2006. "Wages, Productivity and Aging," IZA Discussion Papers 2496, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Thierry Lallemand & François Rycx, 2009. "Are Older Workers Harmful for Firm Productivity?," De Economist, Springer, vol. 157(3), pages 273-292, September.
  8. Irene Bertschek & Jenny Meyer, 2009. "Do Older Workers Lower IT-Enabled Productivity? Firm-Level Evidence from Germany," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 229(2-3), pages 327-342, June.
  9. Cardoso, Ana Rute & Guimaraes, Paulo & Varejão, José, 2010. "Are Older Workers Worthy of Their Pay? An Empirical Investigation of Age-Productivity and Age-Wage Nexuses," IZA Discussion Papers 5121, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Göbel, Christian & Zwick, Thomas, 2009. "Age and productivity: evidence from linked employer employee data," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-020, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  11. Ilmakunnas, Pekka & Maliranta, Mika, 2003. "Technology, Labor Characteristic and Wage-productivity Gaps," Discussion Papers 860, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  12. Vegard Skirbekk, 2003. "Age and individual productivity: a literature survey," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2003-028, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  13. Christian Grund & Niels Westergaard-Nielsen, 2008. "Age structure of the workforce and firm performance," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 29(5), pages 410-422, September.
  14. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Johnson, William R, 1978. "A Theory of Job Shopping," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 261-78, May.
  16. Julia I. Lane & John C. Haltiwanger & James Spletzer, 1999. "Productivity Differences across Employers: The Roles of Employer Size, Age, and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 94-98, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Garnero, Andrea & Kampelmann, Stephan & Rycx, François, 2013. "The Heterogeneous Effects of Workforce Diversity on Productivity, Wages and Profits," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1304, CEPREMAP.
  2. Lang, Julia, 2012. "The aims of lifelong learning: Age-related effects of training on wages and job security," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62073, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  3. Garnero, Andrea & Kampelmann, Stephan & Rycx, Francois, 2013. "Part-time Work, Wages and Productivity: Evidence from Belgian Matched Panel Data," IZA Discussion Papers 7789, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Julia Lang, 2012. "The Aims of Lifelong Learning: Age-Related Effects of Training on Wages and Job Security," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 478, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

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