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Intra-firm Wage Dispersion and Firm Performance - Is There a Uniform Relationship?


  • Uwe Jirjahn
  • Kornelius Kraft


Empirical studies examining the impact of intra-firm wage dispersion on firm performance report extremely mixed results. Yet, almost all of the studies implicitly assume that there is a uniform relationship between wage dispersion and firm performance across all types of firms. In contrast, we argue that the effects of wage dispersion depend on the industrial relations regime and the type of incentive scheme employed. Using data on a sample of manufacturing establishments in Germany, our findings confirm that wage dispersion interacts with internal promotions, individual and group piece rates, works council presence and collective bargaining coverage. This strongly supports the notion that moderating factors play an important role in the relationship between intra-firm wage dispersion and productivity. Copyright 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd..

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  • Uwe Jirjahn & Kornelius Kraft, 2007. "Intra-firm Wage Dispersion and Firm Performance - Is There a Uniform Relationship?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(2), pages 231-253, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:60:y:2007:i:2:p:231-253

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christian Grund & Niels Westergaard-Nielsen, 2008. "The Dispersion of Employees' Wage Increases and Firm Performance," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 61(4), pages 485-501, July.
    2. Benno Torgler & Sascha L. Schmidt & Bruno S. Frey, 2006. "Relative Income Position And Performance: An Empirical Panel Analysis," IEW - Working Papers 268, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    3. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1, January.
    4. Freeman, Richard B. & Katz, Lawrence F. (ed.), 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226261607.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andréasson, Hannes, 2014. "The effect of decentralized wage bargaining on the structure of wages and firm performance," Ratio Working Papers 241, The Ratio Institute.
    2. Jirjahn, Uwe & Smith, Stephen C., 2017. "Nonunion Employee Representation: Theory and the German Experience with Mandated Works Councils," IZA Discussion Papers 11066, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Uwe Jirjahn & Kornelius Kraft, 2010. "Teamwork And Intra-Firm Wage Dispersion Among Blue-Collar Workers," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 57(4), pages 404-429, September.
    4. John S. Heywood & Uwe Jirjahn, 2014. "Variable Pay, Industrial Relations and Foreign Ownership: Evidence from Germany," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 52(3), pages 521-552, September.
    5. Cornelissen, Thomas & Jirjahn, Uwe, 2012. "September 11th and the earnings of Muslims in Germany—The moderating role of education and firm size," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 490-504.
    6. Simon Gächter & Daniele Nosenzo & Martin Sefton, 2012. "The Impact of Social Comparisons on Reciprocity," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(4), pages 1346-1367, December.
    7. Uwe Jirjahn & Vanessa Lange, 2015. "Reciprocity and Workers’ Tastes for Representation," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 188-209, June.
    8. Uwe Jirjahn & Erik Poutsma, 2013. "The Use of Performance Appraisal Systems: Evidence from Dutch Establishment Data," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 801-828, October.
    9. Benoît Mahy & François Rycx & Mélanie Volral, 2011. "Does Wage Dispersion Make All Firms Productive?," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 58(4), pages 455-489, September.
    10. Uwe Jirjahn, 2011. "Gender, Worker Representation and the Profitability of Firms in Germany," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 8(2), pages 281-298, December.
    11. Benoît Mahy & François Rycx & Mélanie Volral, 2011. "Wage Dispersion and Firm Productivity in Different Working Environments," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 49(3), pages 460-485, September.
    12. Uwe Jirjahn, 2015. "Research on Trade Unions and Collective Bargaining in Germany: The Contribution of Labor Economics," Research Papers in Economics 2015-10, University of Trier, Department of Economics.
    13. Uwe Jirjahn & Steffen Mueller, 2014. "Non-union worker representation, foreign owners, and the performance of establishments," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 140-163, January.
    14. Christian Grund & Andreas Schmitt, 2013. "Works councils, wages and job satisfaction," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(3), pages 299-310, January.
    15. Uwe Jirjahn, 2013. "Der Beitrag der Arbeitsmarktökonomik zur Erforschung von Gewerkschaften und Tarifvertragsbeziehungen in Deutschland," Research Papers in Economics 2013-03, University of Trier, Department of Economics.
    16. Dögüs, Ilhan, 2017. "Rising wage dispersion between white-collar and blue-collar workers and market concentration: The case of the USA, 1966-2011," Discussion Papers 62, University of Hamburg, Centre for Economic and Sociological Studies (CESS/ZÖSS).
    17. Kampkötter, Patrick & Sliwka, Dirk, 2011. "Differentiation and Performance: An Empirical Investigation on the Incentive Effects of Bonus Plans," IZA Discussion Papers 6070, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Egon Franck & Stephan Nüesch, 2007. "Wage Dispersion and Team Performance - An Empirical Panel Analysis," Working Papers 0073, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
    19. Nils Braakmann, 2008. "Intra-firm wage inequality and firm performance – First evidence from German linked employer-employee-data," Working Paper Series in Economics 77, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
    20. Firth, Michael & Leung, Tak Yan & Rui, Oliver M., 2010. "Justifying top management pay in a transitional economy," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 852-866, December.
    21. Arnd Kölling, 2014. "Labor Demand and Unequal Payment: Does Wage Inequality matter? Analyzing the Influence of Intra-firm Wage Dispersion on Labor Demand with German Employer-Employee Data," Working Paper Series in Economics 326, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.

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