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Are older workers overpaid? A literature review

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  • Paul Hek
  • Daniel Vuuren

Abstract

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.
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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:18:y:2011:i:4:p:436-460
    DOI: 10.1007/s10797-011-9162-3
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicole Bosch & Bas ter Weel, 2013. "Labour-Market Outcomes of Older Workers in the Netherlands: Measuring Job Prospects Using the Occupational Age Structure," De Economist, Springer, vol. 161(2), pages 199-218, June.
    2. Frank van Erp & Niels Vermeer & Daniel van Vuuren, 2013. "Non-financial determinants of retirement," CPB Discussion Paper 243.rdf, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    3. Töpfer, Marina, 2018. "The age pay gap and labor market heterogeneity: A new empirical approach using data for Italy," Discussion Papers 105, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    4. James A. Brander & Edward J. Egan, 2018. "Seniority Wages in the National Hockey League," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 44(1), pages 84-96, January.
    5. Anja Deelen & Marloes de Graaf-Zijl & Wiljan van den Berge, 2018. "Labour market effects of job displacement for prime-age and older workers," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 7(1), pages 1-30, December.
    6. Anja Deelen & Marloes de Graaf-Zijl & Wiljan van den Berge, 2018. "Labour market effects of job displacement for prime-age and older workers," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 7(1), pages 1-30, December.
    7. Frank Erp & Niels Vermeer & Daniel Vuuren, 2014. "Non-financial Determinants of Retirement: A Literature Review," De Economist, Springer, vol. 162(2), pages 167-191, June.
    8. Daniel Vuuren, 2014. "Flexible Retirement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(3), pages 573-593, July.
    9. Konstantins Benkovskis & Olegs Tkacevs, 2019. "Getting Old Is No Picnic? Sector-Specific Relationship Between Workers Age and Firm Productivity," Discussion Papers 2019/03, Latvijas Banka.
    10. Ilmakunnas, Pekka & Miyakoshi, Tatsuyoshi, 2013. "What are the drivers of TFP in the Aging Economy? Aging labor and ICT capital," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 201-211.
    11. Adhikari, Hari P. & Bulmash, Samuel B. & Krolikowski, Marcin W. & Sah, Nilesh B., 2015. "Dynamics of CEO compensation: Old is gold," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 191-206.
    12. Nicole Bosch & Bas ter Weel, 2013. "Labour-market outcomes of older workers in the Netherlands: Measuring job prospects using the occupational age structure," CPB Discussion Paper 234.rdf, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    13. Frank van Erp & Niels Vermeer & Daniel van Vuuren, 2013. "Non-financial determinants of retirement," CPB Discussion Paper 243, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    14. Maciej Lis, 2017. "Productivity based selection to retirement: Evidence from EU-SILC," IBS Working Papers 02/2017, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.
    15. Nicole Bosch & Bas ter Weel, 2013. "Labour-market outcomes of older workers in the Netherlands: Measuring job prospects using the occupational age structure," CPB Discussion Paper 234, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    16. 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.
    17. Jaap Oude Mulders & Hendrik Dalen & Kène Henkens & Joop Schippers, 2014. "How Likely are Employers to Rehire Older Workers After Mandatory Retirement? A Vignette Study Among Managers," De Economist, Springer, vol. 162(4), pages 415-431, December.
    18. Rachel Scarfe & Carl Singleton & Adesola Sunmoni & Paul Telemo, 2022. "The Age-Wage-Productivity Puzzle: Evidence from the Careers of Top Earners," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2022-07, Department of Economics, University of Reading.
    19. Daniel van Vuuren, 2011. "Flexible Retirement," CPB Discussion Paper 174, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    20. Buchholtz, Sonia & Gaska, Jan & Góra, Marek, 2018. "Pension Strategies of Workers in a Country Getting Old before Getting Rich," IZA Discussion Papers 11830, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    21. Pål Børing, 2021. "The Relationship Between Firm Productivity, Wage Level and Employees’ Age: A Sectoral Perspective," De Economist, Springer, vol. 169(3), pages 367-404, August.

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    Keywords

    Age; Wage; Productivity; J24; J31; J33; J51; J62;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

    Statistics

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