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The age dispersion of workers and firm productivity: a survey approach


  • Ross Guest

    () (Griffith University)

  • Heather Stewart

    (Griffith University)


This paper investigates a tentative finding in recent literature that the age dispersion of workers matters for average firm productivity. The reason is not related to differences in the workers’ age specific productivity levels. Rather it is that workers of different ages are complementary in their effects on average firm productivity. The approach is an econometric study for Australia using the only publicly available matched employee-employer data which is extracted from the AWIRS 95 survey, along with data from a small online pilot survey conducted for the purposes of this study. The results support the tentative suggestion from prior studies, using somewhat different methodologies, that a more widely dispersed workforce by age is positive for productivity. This may have implications for human resource management of firms and for public policy, for example in relation to immigration.

Suggested Citation

  • Ross Guest & Heather Stewart, 2011. "The age dispersion of workers and firm productivity: a survey approach," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 14(1), pages 59-75.
  • Handle: RePEc:ozl:journl:v:14:y:2011:i:1:p:59-75

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    Cited by:

    1. Nathalie Greenan & Pierre-Jean Messe, 2014. "Transmission of vocational skills at the end of career: horizon effect and technological or organisational change," Working Papers halshs-01143496, HAL.

    More about this item


    Labour and Demographic Economics Labour Economics Demographic Economics;

    JEL classification:

    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General


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