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Seniority, experience, and wages in the UK

  • Williams, Nicolas

This paper uses BHPS data to investigate the relative importance of seniority and experience in determining male wages in the UK labor market. Using both the Altonji and Shakotko instrumental variable and the Topel two-step estimation approaches, I find that for all male workers, tenure plays a modest role, increasing wages by about 1% each year over the first 10Â years on the job. General labor market experience has a larger role, so that after 30Â years wages have increased by about 60%. Individual and job match heterogeneity are important, and should be carefully modeled when estimating wage equations for the British labor market. These results are remarkably similar to the most recent evidence about these relationships in the US labor market. After extending the standard model to include industry and occupation experience, the estimated impact of job seniority becomes negligible for nonunion workers. Instead, the wages of nonunion workers rise because of the accumulation of general and sector-specific experience. The wages of union workers are still found to increase with job seniority over the first ten years with their employer, suggesting that if seniority matters for wages it is only for union workers.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 16 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 272-283

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:16:y:2009:i:3:p:272-283
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

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  3. Joseph G. Altonji & Nicolas Williams, 2005. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority? A Reassessment," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(3), pages 370-397, April.
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  19. Cingano, Federico, 2003. "Returns to specific skills in industrial districts," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 149-164, April.
  20. John M. Barron & Mark C. Berger & Dan A. Black, 1997. "On-the-Job Training," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number ojt, November.
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  24. Brown, James N & Light, Audrey, 1992. "Interpreting Panel Data on Job Tenure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(3), pages 219-57, July.
  25. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Firm-specific Capital and Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1246-60, December.
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  27. Alexandros Zangelidis, 2008. "Seniority Profiles in Unionized Workplaces: Do Unions Still have the Edge?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 70(3), pages 327-345, 06.
  28. Alexandros Zangelidis, 2008. "Occupational And Industry Specificity Of Human Capital In The British Labour Market," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 55(4), pages 420-443, 09.
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