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Should Workers Care about Firm Size?

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  • Ana Ferrer
  • Stéphanie Lluis

Abstract

The authors analyze how firms of different sizes reward measured skills and unmeasured ability. The empirical methodology, based on nonlinear instrumental variable estimation, permits direct estimation of the returns to unmeasured ability by firm size. An analysis of panel data from the Canadian Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics for two periods, 1993–1998 and 1996–2001, reveals statistically significant differences between firms of different sizes. In particular, returns to unmeasured ability are higher in medium-sized firms than in either small firms or large firms. The authors find that the firm-size wage gap and the differential in returns to unmeasured ability between small and medium-sized firms is mainly explained by ability sorting. The fact that larger firms reward ability less than medium-sized firms is consistent with an explanation based on monitoring costs. When firms become “too large,†monitoring costs may prevent them from rewarding ability directly through wages.

Suggested Citation

  • Ana Ferrer & Stéphanie Lluis, 2008. "Should Workers Care about Firm Size?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 62(1), pages 104-125, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:62:y:2008:i:1:p:104-125
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sattinger, Michael, 1993. "Assignment Models of the Distribution of Earnings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 831-880, June.
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    9. Rene Morissette, 1993. "Canadian Jobs and Firm Size: Do Smaller Firms Pay Less?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(1), pages 159-174, February.
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    11. Idson, Todd L & Feaster, Daniel J, 1990. "A Selectivity Model of Employer-Size Wage Differentials," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages 99-122, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Therry Lallemand & François Rycx, 2006. "Establishment Size and the Dipsersion of Wages: Evidence from european Countries," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 52(4), pages 309-336.
    2. Naci Mocan & Erdal Tekin, 2011. "Obesity, Self-Esteem and Wages," NBER Chapters,in: Economic Aspects of Obesity, pages 349-380 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:bla:labour:v:31:y:2017:i:2:p:153-173 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Lixin Cai & C. Jeffrey Waddoups, 2009. "The Role of Unobserved Heterogeneity and On-the-Job Training in the Employer Size-Wage Effect: Evidence from Australia," Working Papers 0915, University of Nevada, Las Vegas , Department of Economics.
    5. repec:fep:journl:v:28:y:2017:i:1:p:1-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Stéphanie Lluis & Jean Abraham, 2013. "The Wage–Health Insurance Trade-off and Worker Selection: Evidence From the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey 1997 to 2006," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 541-581, April.
    7. Justina A.V. Fischer & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2006. "The Institutional Determinants of Early Retirement in Europe," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2006 2006-08, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
    8. Thierry Lallemand & Robert Plasman & François Rycx, 2007. "The establishment-size wage premium: evidence from European countries," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 34(5), pages 427-451, December.
    9. Rui Baptista & Francisco Lima & Miguel Preto, 2013. "Entrepreneurial skills and workers’ wages in small firms," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 309-323, February.
    10. Alexander Muravyev, 2007. "Firm Size, Wages and Unobserved Skills: Evidence from Dual Job Holdings in the UK," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 681, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    11. Stephan Kampelmann & François Rycx, 2016. "Wage discrimination against immigrants: measurement with firm-level productivity data," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-24, December.
    12. Haroon Bhorat & Morné Oosthuizen & Kezia Lilenstein & François Steenkamp, 2017. "Firm-level determinants of earnings in the formal sector of the South African labour market," WIDER Working Paper Series 025, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    13. Stéphanie Lluis, 2009. "The Structure of Wages by Firm Size: A Comparison of Canada and the USA," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 23(2), pages 283-317, June.
    14. Robertas Zubrickas, 2011. "Managerial accountability for payroll expense and firm-size wage effects," IEW - Working Papers 474, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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