IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Are older workers overpaid? A literature review

Listed author(s):
  • Paul Hek

    ()

  • Daniel Vuuren

    ()

It is widely believed that wage and productivity profiles of individual workers do not coincide at all ages. We give an overview of the theories which provide a rationale for this, and discuss the empirical literature. Human capital theories typically imply that wages rise with tenure, so that job reallocation at old age would imply a wage cut. Incentive theories typically imply that wages exceed productivity at the end of a worker's career. Bargaining power of unions may also lead to 'overpayment' of older workers. Some general conclusions regarding the wages of older workers are formulated on the basis of the authors' reading of the empirical literature.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10797-011-9162-3
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Springer & International Institute of Public Finance in its journal International Tax and Public Finance.

Volume (Year): 18 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 436-460

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:18:y:2011:i:4:p:436-460
DOI: 10.1007/s10797-011-9162-3
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springer.com

Postal:

P.O. Box 86 04 46, 81631 Munich, Germany

Phone: +49 (0)89-9224-1281
Fax: +49 (0)89-907795-2281
Web page: http://www.iipf.org/index.htm
Email:


More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: http://www.springer.com/economics/public+finance/journal/10797/PS2

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Alan S. Blinder & Don H. Choi, 1990. "A Shred of Evidence on Theories of Wage Stickiness," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(4), pages 1003-1015.
  2. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
  3. repec:hoo:wpaper:e-88-34 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Joseph S. Tracy, 1986. "Seniority Rules and the Gains from Union Organization," NBER Working Papers 2039, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kuhn, Peter, 1988. "A Nonuniform Pricing Model of Union Wages and Employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 473-508, June.
  6. 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, June.
  7. Jan C. van Ours & Lenny Stoeldraijer, 2010. "Age, Wage and Productivity," CESifo Working Paper Series 2965, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. 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.
  9. Benoit Dostie, 2011. "Wages, Productivity and Aging," De Economist, Springer, vol. 159(2), pages 139-158, June.
  10. Rosen, Sherwin, 1986. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 701-715, September.
  11. George Baker & Michael Gibbs & Bengt Holmstrom, 1994. "The Internal Economics of the Firm: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 881-919.
  12. Jan Ours, 2009. "Will You Still Need Me: When I’m 64?," De Economist, Springer, vol. 157(4), pages 441-460, December.
  13. Edward P. Lazear, 1983. "Pensions as Severance Pay," NBER Chapters,in: Financial Aspects of the United States Pension System, pages 57-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Johnson, Richard W & Neumark, David, 1996. "Wage Declines among Older Men," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 740-748, November.
  15. Thierry Lallemand & François Rycx, 2009. "Are Older Workers Harmful for Firm Productivity?," De Economist, Springer, vol. 157(3), pages 273-292, September.
  16. Edward P. Lazear, 1990. "Adjusting to an Aging Labor Force," NBER Chapters,in: Issues in the Economics of Aging, pages 287-316 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Kuhn, Peter & Sweetman, Arthur, 1999. "Vulnerable Seniors: Unions, Tenure, and Wages Following Permanent Job Loss," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 671-693, October.
  18. Robert L. Clark & Naohiro Ogawa, 1992. "The Effect of Mandatory Retirement on Earnings Profiles in Japan," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 45(2), pages 258-266, January.
  19. Ernst Fehr & Armin Falk, 1999. "Wage Rigidity in a Competitive Incomplete Contract Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 106-134, February.
  20. Stevens, Margaret, 1994. "A Theoretical Model of On-the-Job Training with Imperfect Competition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(4), pages 537-562, October.
  21. Mincer, Jacob, 1970. "The Distribution of Labor Incomes: A Survey with Special Reference to the Human Capital Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 1-26, March.
  22. Lazear, Edward P, 1981. "Agency, Earnings Profiles, Productivity, and Hours Restrictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 606-620, September.
  23. Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark, 2007. "Production Function and Wage Equation Estimation with Heterogeneous Labor: Evidence from a New Matched Employer-Employee Data Set," NBER Chapters,in: Hard-to-Measure Goods and Services: Essays in Honor of Zvi Griliches, pages 31-71 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Flabbi, Luca & Ichino, Andrea, 2001. "Productivity, seniority and wages: new evidence from personnel data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 359-387, June.
  25. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-293, March.
  26. Dostie, Benoit, 2005. "Job Turnover and the Returns to Seniority," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 23, pages 192-199, April.
  27. Lazear, Edward P, 2000. "The Future of Personnel Economics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages 611-639, November.
  28. McCue, Kristin, 1996. "Promotions and Wage Growth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(2), pages 175-209, April.
  29. Abraham, Katharine G & Farber, Henry S, 1987. "Job Duration, Seniority, and Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 278-297, June.
  30. Sharon M. Oster & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1998. "Aging And Productivity Among Economists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 154-156, February.
  31. Shaw, Kathryn & Lazear, Edward P., 2008. "Tenure and output," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 704-723, August.
  32. Paul Hek & Daniel Vuuren, 2011. "Are older workers overpaid? A literature review," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 18(4), pages 436-460, August.
  33. George A. Akerlof & Lawrence F. Katz, 1989. "Workers' Trust Funds and the Logic of Wage Profiles," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(3), pages 525-536.
  34. Weiss, Yoram, 1985. "The Effect of Labor Unions on Investment in Training: A Dynamic Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 994-1007, October.
  35. Bishop, John, 1987. "The Recognition and Reward of Employee Performance," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(4), pages 36-56, October.
  36. Dickens, William T, et al, 1989. "Employee Crime and the Monitoring Puzzle," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(3), pages 331-347, July.
  37. Moshe Buchinsky & Denis Fougère & Francis Kramarz & Rusty Tchernis, 2002. "Interfirm Mobility, Wages and the Returns to Seniority and Experience in the U.S," Working Papers 2002-29, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
  38. Dilip Mookherjee, 1984. "Optimal Incentive Schemes with Many Agents," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 433-446.
  39. H. M. Boot, 1995. "How skilled were Lancashire cotton factory workers in 1833?," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 48(2), pages 283-303, May.
  40. Ken Burdett & Melvyn Coles, 2003. "Equilibrium Wage-Tenure Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1377-1404, September.
  41. James L. Medoff & Katharine G. Abraham, 1980. "Experience, Performance, and Earnings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(4), pages 703-736.
  42. Hellerstein, Judith K & Neumark, David & Troske, Kenneth R, 1999. "Wages, Productivity, and Worker Characteristics: Evidence from Plant-Level Production Functions and Wage Equations," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(3), pages 409-446, July.
  43. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 251-334, March.
  44. Yamaguchi, Shintaro, 2010. "The effect of match quality and specific experience on career decisions and wage growth," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 407-423, April.
  45. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-580, June.
  46. Frank, Jeff, 1985. "Trade Union Efficiency and Overemployment with Seniority Wage Scales," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(380), pages 1021-1034, December.
  47. Peter Kuhn & Jacques Robert, 1989. "Seniority and Distribution in a Two-Worker Trade Union," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(3), pages 485-505.
  48. Topel, Robert H, 1991. "Specific Capital, Mobility, and Wages: Wages Rise with Job Seniority," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 145-176, February.
  49. George Baker & Michael Gibbs & Bengt Holmstrom, 1994. "The Wage Policy of a Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 921-955.
  50. John Heywood & Uwe Jirjahn & Georgi Tsertsvardze, 2010. "Hiring older workers and employing older workers: German evidence," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(2), pages 595-615, March.
  51. Daron Acemoglu & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1999. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 539-572, June.
  52. Fair, Ray C, 1994. "How Fast Do Old Men Slow Down?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(1), pages 103-118, February.
  53. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-1284, December.
  54. Mincer, Jacob, 1997. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings: Variations on a Theme," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 26-47, January.
  55. Daniel, Kirsten & Heywood, John S., 2007. "The determinants of hiring older workers: UK evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 35-51, January.
  56. Huck, Steffen & Seltzer, Andrew & Wallace, Brian, 2004. "Deferred Compensation and Gift Exchange: An Experimental Investigation into Multi-Period Labor Markets," IZA Discussion Papers 1193, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  57. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 2004. "Fairness and Incentives in a Multi-task Principal-Agent Model," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 453-474, October.
  58. James L. Medoff & Katharine G. Abraham, 1981. "Are Those Paid More Really More Productive? The Case of Experience," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 16(2), pages 186-216.
  59. Edward P. Lazear & Robert L. Moore, 1984. "Incentives, Productivity, and Labor Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(2), pages 275-296.
  60. Bull, Clive & Schotter, Andrew & Weigelt, Keith, 1987. "Tournaments and Piece Rates: An Experimental Study," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(1), pages 1-33, February.
  61. Booth, Alison L & Frank, Jeff, 1996. "Seniority, Earnings and Unions," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(252), pages 673-686, November.
  62. Malcomson, James M, 1984. "Work Incentives, Hierarchy, and Internal Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 486-507, June.
  63. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1984. "Involuntary Unemployment as a Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1351-1364, November.
  64. Baker, George P, 1992. "Incentive Contracts and Performance Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 598-614, June.
  65. Loewenstein, George F & Sicherman, Nachum, 1991. "Do Workers Prefer Increasing Wage Profiles?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 67-84, January.
  66. Harbring, Christine & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2003. "An experimental study on tournament design," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 443-464, August.
  67. Williams, Nicolas, 2009. "Seniority, experience, and wages in the UK," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 272-283, June.
  68. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
  69. Gary S. Becker & George J. Stigler, 1974. "Law Enforcement, Malfeasance, and Compensation of Enforcers," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, January.
  70. Frank, Jeff & Malcomson, James M., 1994. "Trade unions and seniority employment rules," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 1595-1611, October.
  71. Pekka Ilmakunnas & Mika Maliranta, 2005. "Technology, Labour Characteristics and Wage-productivity Gaps," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 67(5), pages 623-645, October.
  72. Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark, 1995. "Are Earnings Profiles Steeper Than Productivity Profiles? Evidence from Israeli Firm-Level Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 89-112.
  73. Margaret Stevens, 2004. "Wage-Tenure Contracts in a Frictional Labour Market: Firms' Strategies for Recruitment and Retention," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 535-551.
  74. Carmichael, Lorne, 1985. "Can Unemployment Be Involuntary? Comment [Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device]," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1213-1214, December.
  75. Dale Ballou & Michael Podgursky, 2002. "Returns to Seniority among Public School Teachers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 892-912.
  76. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-641, August.
  77. Frank, Robert H. & Hutchens, Robert M., 1993. "Wages, seniority, and the demand for rising consumption profiles," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 251-276, August.
  78. Katharine G. Abraham & Henry S. Farber, 1988. "Returns to Seniority in Union and Nonunion Jobs: A New Look at the Evidence," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 42(1), pages 3-19, October.
  79. Canice Prendergast, 1993. "The Role of Promotion in Inducing Specific Human Capital Acquisition," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 523-534.
  80. Seltzer, Andrew & Merrett, David T, 2000. "Personnel Policies at the Union Bank of Australia: Evidence from the 1888-1900 Entry Cohorts," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(4), pages 573-613, October.
  81. Bruno Crépon & Nicolas Deniau & Sébastien Pérez-Duarte, 2003. "Wages, Productivity and Worker Characteristics : A French Perspective," Working Papers 2003-04, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
  82. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & Sébastien Roux, 2006. "Wages, Mobility and Firm Performance: Advantages and Insights from Using Matched Worker-Firm Data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(512), pages 245-285, June.
  83. Joseph G. Altonji & Robert A. Shakotko, 1987. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 437-459.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:18:y:2011:i:4:p:436-460. 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: (Sonal Shukla)

or (Rebekah McClure)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.