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Do Large Modern Retailers Pay Premium Wages?

Author

Listed:
  • Brianna Cardiff-Hicks
  • Francine Lafontaine
  • Kathryn Shaw

    (Brianna Cardiff-Hicks is an Associate at Cornerstone Research. Francine Lafontaine is the William Davidson Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy in the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. Kathryn Shaw is the Ernest C. Arbuckle Professor of Economics in the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University.)

Abstract

With malls, franchise strips, and big-box retailers increasingly dotting the landscape, many are concerned that U.S. middle-class jobs in manufacturing are being replaced by minimum-wage jobs in retail. Retail jobs have spread, whereas manufacturing jobs have shrunk in number. The authors show that wage rates in the retail sector rise markedly with firm size and with establishment size. These increases are halved when they control for worker fixed effects, suggesting that better workers are sorted into larger firms. Also, higher-ability workers are promoted to the position of manager, which is associated with higher pay. The authors conclude that the growth in modern retail, characterized by larger chains of larger establishments with more levels of hierarchy, is raising wage rates relative to traditional mom-and-pop retail stores.

Suggested Citation

  • Brianna Cardiff-Hicks & Francine Lafontaine & Kathryn Shaw, 2015. "Do Large Modern Retailers Pay Premium Wages?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 68(3), pages 633-665, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:68:y:2015:i:3:p:633-665
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ronald S. Jarmin & Shawn D. Klimek & Javier Miranda, 2009. "The Role of Retail Chains: National, Regional and Industry Results," NBER Chapters,in: Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data, pages 237-262 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    7. Mark Doms & Ron Jarmin & Shawn Klimek, 2004. "Information technology investment and firm performance in US retail trade," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(7), pages 595-613.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Francine Lafontaine & Kathryn Shaw, 2016. "Serial Entrepreneurship: Learning by Doing?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(S2), pages 217-254.
    2. Ali Hortaçsu & Chad Syverson, 2015. "The Ongoing Evolution of US Retail: A Format Tug-of-War," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 89-112, Fall.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    retail wages; firm size effects on wages; modern retail firms; large retail pay;

    JEL classification:

    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce

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