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Piece work pay and hourly pay over the cycle

  • Hart, Robert A.

This paper investigates the relative cyclical behaviour of the pay of piece workers and hourly paid workers. It uses a unique data set of blue-collar workers in British engineering between 1926 and 1966. The statistics are obtained from the payrolls of firms belonging to the Engineering Employers Federation (EEF). Roughly, the EEF accounted for one-third of the total engineering workforce. The data consist of cell averages delineated by 15 occupations in 29 engineering districts. Via a firm-union bargaining modelling structure, the question is examined as to likely earnings responses to price shocks under the two payment systems. The empirical work entails testing for cyclical differences in the two payments methods Insights are gained from distinguishing between the relatively tight post-war and slack pre-war labour markets.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 15 (2008)
Issue (Month): 5 (October)
Pages: 1006-1022

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:15:y:2008:i:5:p:1006-1022
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  1. Solon, Gary & Barsky, Robert & Parker, Jonathan A, 1994. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important Is Composition Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-25, February.
  2. Salop, Steven C, 1979. "A Model of the Natural Rate of Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 117-25, March.
  3. Robert A. Hart, 2006. "Worker-Job Matches, Job Mobility and Real Wage Cyclicality," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(290), pages 287-298, 05.
  4. Fama, Eugene F, 1991. "Time, Salary, and Incentive Payoffs in Labor Contracts," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 25-44, January.
  5. Shin, Donggyun, 1994. "Cyclicality of real wages among young men," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 137-142, October.
  6. Paul J. Devereux & Robert A. Hart, 2006. "Real wage cyclicality of job stayers, within-company job movers, and between-company job movers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(1), pages 105-119, October.
  7. Ben S. Bernanke & James L. Powell, 1984. "The Cyclical Behavior of Industrial Labor Markets: A Comparison of the Pre-War and Post-War Eras," NBER Working Papers 1376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Paul J. Devereux, 2001. "The Cyclicality of Real Wages within Employer-Employee Matches," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(4), pages 835-850, July.
  9. Hart, Robert A., 2003. "General Human Capital and Employment Adjustment in the Great Depression: Apprentices and Journeymen in UK Engineering," IZA Discussion Papers 799, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Ben S. Bernanke, 1985. "Employment, Hours, and Earnings in the Depression: An Analysis of EightManufacturing Industries," NBER Working Papers 1642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Lazear, Edward P, 1986. "Salaries and Piece Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 405-31, July.
  12. Bils, Mark J, 1985. "Real Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 666-89, August.
  13. Hart,Robert A. & Moutos,Thomas, 1995. "Human Capital, Employment and Bargaining," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521453264, October.
  14. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
  15. Donggyun Shin & Gary Solon, 2007. "New Evidence On Real Wage Cyclicality Within Employer-Employee Matches," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 54(5), pages 648-660, November.
  16. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-45, March.
  17. Charles Brown, 1990. "Firms' choice of method of pay," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(3), pages 165-182, February.
  18. Lutz Bellmann & Uwe Blien, 2001. "Wage curve analyses of establishment data from western Germany," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(4), pages 851-863, July.
  19. Katharine G. Abraham & John C. Haltiwanger, 1995. "Real Wages and the Business Cycle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(3), pages 1215-1264, September.
  20. Seiler, Eric, 1984. "Piece Rate vs. Time Rate: The Effect of Incentives on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(3), pages 363-76, August.
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