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Efficiency Wages and Industry Wage Differentials: A Comparison Across Methods of Pay

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  • Paul Chen

    (Australian National University)

  • Per-Anders Edin

    (Uppsala University)

Abstract

Efficiency wage considerations should be less important for piece-rate pay than for time wages. Therefore, if industry wage differentials reflect efficiency wage factors, then these pay differences should be less sizable and have less explanatory power for piecework than for timework. We test this proposition using wage data for male production workers employed in the Swedish metalworking industries in 1985. The data are partitioned into two groups of workers. In our preferred sub-sample of workers who received pay under both piece rates and time wages, our results are uniformly consistent with efficiency wage implications for industry wage differentials. For the subsample of workers who received pay under either piece rates or time wages, industry wage differentials are of equal importance under either pay scheme. These latter results, however, may also be influenced by unaccounted for sorting of workers and employers across methods of pay. Overall, our examination of industry wage differentials across methods of pay provides mixed support for efficiency wage theory. © 2002 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Chen & Per-Anders Edin, 2002. "Efficiency Wages and Industry Wage Differentials: A Comparison Across Methods of Pay," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 617-631, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:84:y:2002:i:4:p:617-631
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    2. Vesna Stavrevska, 2011. "The efficiency wages perspective to wage rigidity in the open economy: a survey," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 32(3), pages 273-299, June.
    3. Finnoff, David & Tschirhart, John, 2008. "Linking dynamic economic and ecological general equilibrium models," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 91-114, May.
    4. Steven Ross & Yves Zenou, 2003. "Shirking, Commuting and Labor Market Outcomes," Working papers 2003-41, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    5. Ross, Stephen L. & Zenou, Yves, 2008. "Are shirking and leisure substitutable? An empirical test of efficiency wages based on urban economic theory," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, pages 498-517.
    6. Yang, Sheng-Ping & DeBeaumont, Ronald, 2010. "Pay as incentive or pay as reward? The case of Taiwan," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, pages 76-86.
    7. Mehta, Aashish & Sun, Wei, 2013. "Does Industry Affiliation Influence Wages? Evidence from Indonesia and the Asian Financial Crisis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 47-61.
    8. Lundborg, Per & Sacklén, Hans, 2003. "Low-Inflation Targeting and Unemployment Persistence," Working Paper Series 188, Trade Union Institute for Economic Research.
    9. Zhao Chen & Ming Lu & Guanghua Wan, 2010. "Inter-Industry Wage Differentials: An Increasingly Important Contributor to Urban China Income Inequality," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd09-130, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    10. Zhao Chen & Ming Lu & Hiroshi Sato, 2009. "Social Networks and Labor Market Entry Barriers: Understanding Inter-industrial Wage Differentials in Urban China," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd09-084, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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