Working in Family Firms: Paid Less but More Secure? Evidence from French Matched Employer-Employee Data
The authors study compensation packages in family-owned and nonfamily-owned firms. Using French matched employer-employee data, they first show that family firms pay on average lower wages. Part of this wage gap is attributable to low-wage workers sorting into family firms and high-wage workers sorting into nonfamily firms; however, they also find evidence that company wage policies differ according to ownership status, so that the same worker is paid differently under family and nonfamily firm ownership. In addition, family firms are characterized by lower job insecurity, as measured by lower dismissal rates. Family firms also appear to rely less on dismissals, and more on hiring reductions, than do nonfamily firms when they downsize. The authors show that compensating wage differentials account for a substantial part of the inverse relationship between the family/nonfamily gaps in wages and job security.