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Employer Size and Labor Turnover: The Role of Pensions


  • William E. Even
  • David A. MacPherson


The well-documented lower labor turnover in large firms than in smaller firms has been cited as evidence that large firms pay workers above their opportunity wage. This study investigates whether the relationship between firm size and turnover can instead be accounted for in part by size-related differences in the availability, portability, or generosity of pension plans. Analyzing extensive data for the years 1973–93, the authors find that pension coverage was associated with a greater reduction in worker turnover in large firms than in small firms. They also find that when appropriate controls for worker characteristics are employed, there is virtually no association between firm size and labor turnover for workers not covered by a pension.

Suggested Citation

  • William E. Even & David A. MacPherson, 1996. "Employer Size and Labor Turnover: The Role of Pensions," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(4), pages 707-728, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:49:y:1996:i:4:p:707-728

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Juurikkala, Tuuli & Lazareva, Olga, 2006. "Non-wage benefits, costs turnover, and labor attachment : evidence from Russian firms," BOFIT Discussion Papers 4/2006, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
    2. Tuuli Juurikkala & Olga Lazareva, 2012. "Non‐wage benefits, costs of turnover and labour attachment," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 20(1), pages 113-136, January.
    3. Erwan Quintin & John J. Stevens, 2003. "Firm specific human capital vs. job matching: a new test," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-33, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Christopher R. Tamborini & Patrick Purcell, 2016. "Women’s Household Preparation for Retirement at Young and Mid-Adulthood: Differences by Children and Marital Status," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 226-241, June.
    5. Robert L. Clark & Joseph F. Quinn, 1999. "Effects of Pensions on Labor Markets and Retirement," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 431, Boston College Department of Economics.
    6. Mario Bossler, 2015. "The efficiency wage effect of employer provided occupational pensions," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-17, December.
    7. Leora Friedberg & Michael T. Owyang, 2004. "Explaining the evolution of pension structure and job tenure," Working Papers 2002-022, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    8. Gunderson, Jill Marie & Hotchkiss, Julie L., 2007. "Job Separation Behavior of WOTC Workers: Results from a Unique Case Study," MPRA Paper 44801, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Strand, Alexander & Fisher, Robin C., 2003. "Local Labor Markets and Child Poverty," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 33(3), pages 296-312.
    10. Ben Backes & Ben Backes & Dan Goldhaberb & Cyrus Grout & Cory Koedel & Shawn Ni & Michael Podgursky & P. Brett Xiang & Zeyu Xu, 2015. "Benefit or Burden? On the Intergenerational Inequity of Teacher Pension Plans," Working Papers 1517, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised Apr 2016.
    11. Ghilarducci, Teresa & Reich, Michael, 1998. "Training and Pensions: Substitutes or Complements?," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt2xq878qt, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    12. Regina T. Riphahn, 1999. "Income and employment effects of health shocks A test case for the German welfare state," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 12(3), pages 363-389.
    13. Anja Decressin & Julia Lane & Kristin McCue & Martha Stinson, 2005. "Employer-Provided Benefit Plans, Workforce Composition and Firm Outcomes," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2005-01, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

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