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Ownership, Agency, and Wages: An Examination of Franchising in the Fast Food Industry


  • Alan B. Krueger


This paper estimates the difference in compensation between company-owned and franchisee-owned fast food restaurants. The contrast is of interest because contractual arrangements give managers of company-owned outlets less of an incentive to monitor and supervise employees. Estimates based on two data sets suggest that employee compensation is slightly greater at company-owned outlets than at franchisee-owned outlets. The earnings gap is 9 percent for assistant and shift managers and 2 percent for full-time crew workers. Furthermore, the tenure-earnings profile is steeper at company-owned restaurants. These findings suggest that monitoring difficulties influence the timing and generosity of compensation.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "Ownership, Agency, and Wages: An Examination of Franchising in the Fast Food Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 106(1), pages 75-101.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:106:y:1991:i:1:p:75-101.

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