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Compensation Structure and Product Market Competition

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  • John M. Abowd
  • Laurence Allain

Abstract

The inability to measure the opportunity cost of labor has plagued analyses of firm-level compensation policies for many years. Using a newly constructed data set of French workers and firms, we estimate the opportunity cost of the employees' time based on a measure of the person-effect in the wage equations (derived from Abowd, Kramarz and Margolis 1994). We then make direct calculations of the quasi-rent per worker at each firm and the conditions within that firm's product market, as measured by international prices, using a representative sample of private French firms. We find that quasi-rents per worker are only mildly related to the structure of the French product market. The systematic variation in our quasi-rents is related to international market prices and work force structure, however, producing an estimate of bargaining power for the employees of about 0.4. This estimate, while slightly larger than other estimates, may be quite reasonable for the workers in an economy in which the vast majority of jobs are covered by industry-level collective bargaining agreements.

Suggested Citation

  • John M. Abowd & Laurence Allain, 1996. "Compensation Structure and Product Market Competition," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 41-42, pages 207-217.
  • Handle: RePEc:adr:anecst:y:1996:i:41-42:p:207-217
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Abowd, John M, 1989. "The Effect of Wage Bargains on the Stock Market Value of the Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 774-800, September.
    2. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 251-334, March.
    3. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 251-334, March.
    4. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz, 1992. "A Test of Negotiation and Incentive Compensation Models Using Longitudinal French Enterprise Data," NBER Working Papers 4044, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Brown, James N & Ashenfelter, Orley, 1986. "Testing the Efficiency of Employment Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 40-87, June.
    6. McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1981. "Wage Bargaining and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 896-908, December.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

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