IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Firm-Level Contracting and the Structure of Wages in Spain


  • David Card
  • Sara De La Rica


In many European countries, sectoral bargaining agreements are automatically extended to cover all firms in an industry. Employers and employees can also negotiate firm-specific contracts. The authors of this paper use a large matched employer-employee data set from a 1995 survey in Spain to study the effects of firm-level contracting on the structure of wages. They estimate a series of wage determination models, including specifications that control for individual characteristics, coworker characteristics, the bargaining status of the workplace, and the probability that the workplace was covered by a firm-level contract. They find that firm-level contracting was associated with a 5–10% wage premium, with larger premiums for more highly paid workers. Although they cannot decisively test between alternative explanations for the firm-level contracting premium, they find that workers with firm-specific contracts had substantially longer job tenure than other workers, suggesting that the premium was at least partially a non-competitive phenomenon.

Suggested Citation

  • David Card & Sara De La Rica, 2006. "Firm-Level Contracting and the Structure of Wages in Spain," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 59(4), pages 573-592, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:59:y:2006:i:4:p:573-592

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & David Joulfaian & Harvey S. Rosen, 1993. "The Carnegie Conjecture: Some Empirical Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 413-435.
    2. Purvi Sevak, 2002. "Wealth Shocks and Retirement Timing: Evidence from the Nineties," Working Papers wp027, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    3. Michael D. Hurd & Monika Reti, 2000. "The Effects of Large Capital Gains on Work and Consumption Evidence from Four Waves of the HRS," Working Papers DRU-3011, RAND Corporation.
    4. Gary Burtless & Joseph F. Quinn, 2002. "Is Working Longer the Answer for an Aging Workforce?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 550, Boston College Department of Economics.
    5. David Joulfaian & Mark O. Wilhelm, 1994. "Inheritance and Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(4), pages 1205-1234.
    6. Ing-Haw Cheng & Eric French, 2000. "The effect of the run-up in the stock market on labor supply," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q IV, pages 48-65.
    7. Guido W. Imbens & Donald B. Rubin & Bruce I. Sacerdote, 2001. "Estimating the Effect of Unearned Income on Labor Earnings, Savings, and Consumption: Evidence from a Survey of Lottery Players," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 778-794, September.
    8. Donald Bruce & Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Joseph F. Quinn, 2000. "Self-Employment and Labor Market Transitions at Older Ages," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 490, Boston College Department of Economics.
    9. Leora Friedberg & Anthony Webb, 2005. "Retirement and the Evolution of Pension Structure," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
    10. Michael Hurd & Monika Reti, 2003. "The Effects of Large Capital Gains on Work and Consumption: Evidence from Four Waves of the HRS," Working Papers 03-14, RAND Corporation.
    11. Andy Eschtruth & Jonathan Gemus, 2002. "Are Older Workers Responding To The Bear Market?," Just the Facts jtf-5, Center for Retirement Research.
    12. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & Cori E. Uccello, 2005. "Effects Of Stock Market Fluctuations On The Adequacy Of Retirement Wealth Accumulation," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 51(3), pages 397-418, September.
    13. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2002. "Retirement and the Stock Market Bubble," NBER Working Papers 9404, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Gabor Kezdi & Purvi Sevak, 2004. "Economic Adjustment of Recent Retirees to Adverse Wealth Shocks," Working Papers wp075, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. W. Craig Riddell & Xueda Song, 2017. "The Role of Education in Technology Use and Adoption: Evidence from the Canadian Workplace and Employee Survey," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 70(5), pages 1219-1253, October.
    2. Nicole Gürtzgen, 2006. "The Effect of Firm- ans Industry-Level Contracts on Wages: Evidence from Longitudinal Linked Employer-Employee Data," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-082, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. Magda, Iga & Marsden, David & Moriconi, Simone, 2016. "Lower coverage but stronger unions? Institutional changes and union wage premia in Central Europe," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 638-656.
    4. Devicienti, Francesco & Manello, Alessandro & Vannoni, Davide, 2017. "Technical efficiency, unions and decentralized labor contracts," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 260(3), pages 1129-1141.
    5. Du Caju, Philip & Fuss, Catherine & Wintr, Ladislav, 2009. "Understanding sectoral differences in downward real wage rigidity: workforce composition, institutions, technology and competition," Working Paper Series 1006, European Central Bank.
    6. McGuinness, Seamus & Kelly, Elish & O'Connell, Philip J., 2008. "The Impact of Wage Bargaining Regime on Firm-Level Competitiveness and Wage Inequality: The Case of Ireland," Papers WP266, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    7. Juan Carluccio & Denis Fougère & Erwan Gautier, 2015. "Trade, Wages and Collective Bargaining: Evidence from France," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0(584), pages 803-837, May.
    8. E. Gautier & D. Fougère & S. Roux, 2016. "The Impact of the National Minimum Wage on Industry-Level Wage Bargaining in France," Working papers 587, Banque de France.
    9. John T. Addison & Paulino Teixeira & Thomas Zwick, 2009. "Rent Seeking at Plant Level: An Application of the Card and de la Rica Tenure Test to German Works Councils," Economics Working Papers 09-04, Queen's Management School, Queen's University Belfast.
    10. De la Rica Goiricelaya, Sara & González de San Román Rosado, Ainara, 2007. "The Impact of Firm Level Contracting on Wage Levels and Inequality: Spain 1995-2002," DFAEII Working Papers 2007-07, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
    11. Nicole Gürtzgen, 2016. "Estimating the Wage Premium of Collective Wage Contracts: Evidence from Longitudinal Linked Employer–Employee Data," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 294-322, April.
    12. repec:eee:touman:v:52:y:2016:i:c:p:96-109 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Christian M. Dahl & Daniel le Maire & Jakob R. Munch, 2013. "Wage Dispersion and Decentralization of Wage Bargaining," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(3), pages 501-533.
    14. Giannakopoulos, Nicholas & Laliotis, Ioannis, 2017. "Decentralized Bargaining and the Greek Labour Relations Reform (Law 4024/2011)," MPRA Paper 76513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Nicole Guertzgen, 2009. "Rent-sharing and Collective Bargaining Coverage: Evidence from Linked Employer-Employee Data," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 111(2), pages 323-349, June.
    16. Seamus McGuinness & Delma Byrne, 2015. "Born abroad and educated here: examining the impacts of education and skill mismatch among immigrant graduates in Europe," IZA Journal of Migration, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-30, December.
    17. Murillo Huertas, Inés P. & Ramos, Raul & Simón, Hipólito, 2017. "Revisiting Interregional Wage Differentials: New Evidence from Spain with Matched Employer-Employee Data," IZA Discussion Papers 11122, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. repec:spr:soinre:v:134:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1447-6 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:59:y:2006:i:4:p:573-592. 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: (SAGE Publications). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.