Are there pecuniary compensations for working conditions?
In this paper we assess the relative contribution of working conditions to wage determination with an emphasis on differences along the earnings distribution. A survey of British employees in 2001 rich in questions regarding the job post enables us to separate the contribution of working conditions, job attributes and individual characteristics to the process of wage determination. Standard wage equations reveal that covariates such as having "repetitive job" and using generic skills such as "literacy" or "customer handling skills" are associated with significant premiums and penalties. Quantile regressions confirm the presence of penalties to poor working conditions, such as "working to tight deadlines", that are significant in the middle section of the earnings distribution and robust to the inclusion of a wide range of controls for person, firm and other job characteristics. Counterfactual decompositions at quantiles show that, despite the apparent penalty, there are pecuniary compensations to poor working conditions around the first quartile and the median of the earnings distribution.
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