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Fairness and Freight-Handlers: Local Labor Market Conditions and Wage-Fairness Perceptions in a Trucking Firm

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  • Eric A. Verhoogen
  • Stephen V. Burks
  • Jeffrey P. Carpenter

Abstract

The authors draw on an internal attitude survey conducted yearly from 1996 to 2000 in the freight-handling terminals of a unionized trucking firm to investigate the effect of local labor market conditions on employee wage-fairness perceptions. Their research design exploits the fact that local managers had no discretion to vary wage rates in response to local labor market conditions; local economic shocks thus generated exogenous variation in the attractiveness of the wage paid by the firm relative to employees' options in the outside labor market. The authors find robust associations between the wage-fairness perceptions of employees in the firm and two indicators of local conditions—the rate of unemployment and the wages of similar workers in the outside market. They argue that these correlations reflect a causal relationship: an increase in unemployment or a decrease in outside wages led workers to perceive their wage to be more fair.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric A. Verhoogen & Stephen V. Burks & Jeffrey P. Carpenter, 2007. "Fairness and Freight-Handlers: Local Labor Market Conditions and Wage-Fairness Perceptions in a Trucking Firm," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(4), pages 477-498, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:60:y:2007:i:4:p:477-498
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
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    4. Carl M. Campbell III & Kunal S. Kamlani, 1997. "The Reasons for Wage Rigidity: Evidence from a Survey of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 759-789.
    5. George A. Akerlof & Andrew K. Rose & Janet L. Yellen, 1988. "Job Switching and Job Satisfaction in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(2), pages 495-594.
    6. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 2002. "Estimation and Inference in Two-Step Econometric Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 88-97, January.
    7. Barry T. Hirsch & Edward J. Schumacher, 2004. "Match Bias in Wage Gap Estimates Due to Earnings Imputation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 689-722, July.
    8. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lommerud, Kjell Erik & Meland, Frode & Straume, Odd Rune, 2012. "North–South technology transfer in unionised multinationals," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 385-395.
    2. Mary Amiti & Donald R. Davis, 2012. "Trade, Firms, and Wages: Theory and Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 1-36.
    3. Altmann, Steffen & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David B., 2010. "Implicit Contracts, Unemployment, and Labor Market Segmentation," IZA Discussion Papers 5001, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Tao, Hung-Lin, 2015. "Multiple earnings comparisons and subjective earnings fairness: A cross-country study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 45-54.
    5. Alexandre Mas, 2006. "Pay, Reference Points, and Police Performance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 783-821.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights

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