IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Wages and Profits in Manufacturing Firms: Matched-Panel Evidence from Brazil


  • Pedro S. Martins

    (School of Business and Management, Queen Mary, University of London, United Kingdom)

  • Luiz A. Esteves

    (Department of Economics & Graduate Program of Public Policy, UFPR, Brazil)


We provide evidence about the determinants of the wage structures of developing countries by examining the case of Brazil. Our specific question is whether Brazil’s dramatic income and wage differentials can be explained by the division of rents between firms and their employees, unlike in competitive labour markets. Using detailed individual-level matched panel data, covering a large share of manufacturing firms and more than 30 million workers between 1997 and 2002, we consider the endogeneity of profits, by adopting different measures of profits and different instruments and by controlling for spell fixed effects. Our results, robust to different specifications and tests,indicate no evidence of rent sharing. This conclusion contrasts with findings for most developed countries, even those with flexible labour markets. Possible explanations for the lack of rent sharing include the weakness of labour-market institutions, the high levelsof worker turnover and the macroeconomic instability faced by the country

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro S. Martins & Luiz A. Esteves, 2012. "Wages and Profits in Manufacturing Firms: Matched-Panel Evidence from Brazil," Economia, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics], vol. 13(3b), pages 815-841.
  • Handle: RePEc:anp:econom:v:13:y:2012:i:3b:815_841

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Juan C. Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "The Regulation of Labor," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1339-1382.
    2. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald & Peter Sanfey, 1996. "Wages, Profits, and Rent-Sharing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 227-251.
    3. John Van Reenen, 1996. "The Creation and Capture of Rents: Wages and Innovation in a Panel of U. K. Companies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 195-226.
    4. Jorge Saba Arbache & Andy Dickerson & Francis Green, 2004. "Trade Liberalisation and Wages in Developing Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(493), pages 73-96, February.
    5. Hildreth, Andrew K G & Oswald, Andrew J, 1997. "Rent-Sharing and Wages: Evidence from Company and Establishment Panels," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 318-337, April.
    6. Arbache, Jorge Saba & de Negri, João Alberto, 2004. "Filiação Industrial e Diferencial de Salários no Brasil," Revista Brasileira de Economia - RBE, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), vol. 58(2), April.
    7. Mahmood Arai, 2003. "Wages, Profits, and Capital Intensity: Evidence from Matched Worker-Firm Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(3), pages 593-618, July.
    9. Almeida, Rita K. & Carneiro, Pedro, 2005. "Enforcement of Regulation, Informal Labor and Firm Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 1759, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Pedro Martins, 2009. "Rent sharing before and after the wage bill," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(17), pages 2133-2151.
    11. Naércio Aquino Menezes-Filho & Marc-Andreas Muendler & Garey Ramey, 2008. "The Structure of Worker Compensation in Brazil, with a Comparison to France and the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 324-346, May.
    12. Teal, Francis, 1996. "The Size and sources of economic rents in a developing country manufacturing labour market," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 963-976, July.
    13. Sandra E. Black & Philip E. Strahan, 2001. "The Division of Spoils: Rent-Sharing and Discrimination in a Regulated Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 814-831, September.
    14. Arai, Mahmood & Heyman, Fredrik, 2001. "Wages, Profits and Individual Unemployment Risk : Evidence from Matched Worker-Firm Data," Working Paper Series 172, Trade Union Institute for Economic Research.
    15. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Leite, Phillippe G. & Litchfield, Julie A., 2008. "The Rise And Fall Of Brazilian Inequality: 1981–2004," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(S2), pages 199-230, September.
    16. Eduardo Pontual Ribeiro & Carlos Corseuil & Daniel Santos & Paulo Furtado & Brunu Amorim & Luciana Servo & Andre Souza, 2004. "Trade liberalization, the exchange rate and job flows in Brazil," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(4), pages 209-223.
    17. Stephen G. Bronars & Melissa Famulari, 2001. "Shareholder Wealth and Wages: Evidence for White-Collar Workers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 328-354, April.
    18. Martins, Pedro S. & Esteves, Luiz A., 2006. "Is There Rent Sharing in Developing Countries? Matched-Panel Evidence from Brazil," IZA Discussion Papers 2317, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Wage Bargaining; Instrumental Variables; Matched Employer-Employee Data; Developing Countries;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:anp:econom:v:13:y:2012:i:3b:815_841. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Rodrigo Zadra Armond). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.