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Did Henry Ford Pay Efficiency Wages?


  • Raff, Daniel M G
  • Summers, Lawrence H


The authors examine Henry Ford's introduction of the five-dollar day in 1914 in an effort to evaluate the relevance of efficiency-wag e theories of wage and employment determination. They conclude that t he Ford experience strongly supports the relevance of these theories. Ford's decision to increase wages dramatically is most plausibly the consequence of labor problems of the kind efficiency-wage theorists stress. The structure of the five-dollar day program is consistent wi th the predictions of efficiency-wage theories. There is vivid eviden ce that the introduction of the five-dollar day resulted in substanti al queues for Ford jobs. Significant increases in Ford productivity a nd profits accompanied the new regime. Copyright 1987 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Raff, Daniel M G & Summers, Lawrence H, 1987. "Did Henry Ford Pay Efficiency Wages?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(4), pages 57-86, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:5:y:1987:i:4:p:s57-86

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Setting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1059-1085, December.
    2. John M. Abowd & Orley C. Ashenfelter, 1981. "Anticipated Unemployment, Temporary Layoffs, and Compensating Wage Differentials," NBER Chapters,in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 141-170 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Hall, Robert E, 1982. "The Importance of Lifetime Jobs in the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 716-724, September.
    4. repec:fth:prinin:137 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:pri:indrel:dsp01fx719m450 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Mincer, Jacob, 1970. "The Distribution of Labor Incomes: A Survey with Special Reference to the Human Capital Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 1-26, March.
    7. Heckman, James J & Willis, Robert J, 1977. "A Beta-logistic Model for the Analysis of Sequential Labor Force Participation by Married Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 27-58, February.
    8. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
    9. Weiss, Yoram, 1972. "The Risk Element in Occupational and Educational Choices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(6), pages 1203-1213, Nov.-Dec..
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