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Human Capital and Information: The Employer Size-Wage Effect


  • Kevin T. Reilly


This paper examines the issue of the establishment size-wage effect. It analyzes a cross-section for the year 1979, with information on 607 individuals and the 60 private sector establishments where they work. It discusses four theories of the establishment size-wage effect and uses empirical proxies to test them. It shows that when a dummy variable on computer access in the establishment is introduced as a regressor, the establishment size variable is an insignificant regressor. This result and other evidence supports the contention that the establishment size coefficient captures the effect of unobserved human capital accumulation.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin T. Reilly, 1995. "Human Capital and Information: The Employer Size-Wage Effect," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 1-18.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:30:y:1995:i:1:p:1-18

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ben-Porath, Yoram, 1973. "Labor-Force Participation Rates and the Supply of Labor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 697-704, May-June.
    2. Richard B. Freeman & James L. Medoff, 1982. "The Youth Labor Market Problem in the United States: An Overview," NBER Chapters,in: The Youth Labor Market Problem: Its Nature, Causes, and Consequences, pages 35-74 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Arthur M. Okun, 1973. "Upward Mobility in a High-Pressure Economy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 4(1), pages 207-262.
    4. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1982. "Labour Force Participation: Timing and Persistence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(5), pages 825-844.
    5. George L. Perry, 1977. "Potential Output and Productivity," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 8(1), pages 11-60.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Dolton & Gerry Makepeace & Helen Robinson, 2007. "Use It Or Lose It? The Impact Of Computers On Earnings," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 75(6), pages 673-694, December.
    2. Soonae Park & Byung-Yeon Kim & Wonchang Jang & Kyung-Min Nam, 2014. "Imperfect information and labor market bias against small and medium-sized enterprises: a Korean case," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 725-741, October.
    3. Roland Veras Saldanha Júnior & Priscila Azzolini, 2001. "Estoque de Conhecimento, Incerteza e Investimento em Educação: um Modelo Teórico," Anais do XXIX Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 29th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 104, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    4. Edward J. Schumacher & Barry T. Hirsch, 1997. "Compensating Differentials and Unmeasured Ability in the Labor Market for Nurses: Why Do Hospitals Pay More?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(4), pages 557-579, July.
    5. Francis Green, 1998. "The Value of Skills," Studies in Economics 9819, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    6. Borghans L. & Weel B. ter, 2000. "How computerizaton changes the UK Labour Market: The Facts viewed from a new Perspective," ROA Working Paper 010, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    7. William E. Even & David A. Macpherson, 2012. "Is Bigger Still Better? The Decline of the Wage Premium at Large Firms," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 1181-1201, April.
    8. R. Antonietti, 2006. "The skill content of technological change. Some conjectures on the role of education and job-training in reducing the timing of new technology adoption," Working Papers 556, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    9. Stephanie Lluis, "undated". "Endogenous Choice of Firm Size and the Sturcture of Wages: A Comparison of Canada and the United States," Working Papers 0203, Human Resources and Labor Studies, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus).
    10. Chris N. Sakellariou & Harry A. Patrinos, 2004. "Technology, computers and wages: evidence from a developing economy," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 47(3-4), pages 543-543.
    11. G. Reza Arabsheibani & Alan Marin, 2006. "If not computers then what? Returns to computer use in the UK revisited," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(21), pages 2461-2467.
    12. Marcel Fafchampsm & Måns Söderbom, 2006. "Wages and Labor Management in African Manufacturing," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(2).
    13. Hiroshi Ono & Madeline Zavodny, 2004. "Gender differences in information technology usage: a U.S.-Japan comparison," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2004-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    14. José Ignacio Uribe & Carlos Humberto Ortiz & Gustavo Adolfo García, 2007. "La segmentación del mercado laboral colombiano en la década de los noventa," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 9(16), pages 189-221, January-J.
    15. Carlos Humberto Ortiz & José Ignacio Uribe & Érika Raquel Badillo, 2009. "Segmentación inter e intrarregional en el mercado laboral urbano de Colombia, 2001-2006," Ensayos sobre Política Económica, Banco de la Republica de Colombia, vol. 27(58), pages 194-231, Agosto.
    16. Borgmans, Lex & Weel, Bas ter, 2000. "How computerization changes the UK labour market: The facts viewed from a new perspective," Research Memorandum 025, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    17. Dunne, Timothy & Troske, Kenneth, 2004. "Technology Adoption and Workforce Skill in U.S. Manufacturing Plants," IZA Discussion Papers 1427, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Gustavo Gonzalez Palomino, 2014. "Diferencias en los ingresos laborales en Colombia, 2001?2006: un análisis de descomposición de Oaxaca para los sectores formal e informal," REVISTA CIFE, UNIVERSIDAD SANTO TOMÁS, September.
    19. Majumdar, Sumit K., 2010. "Institutional changes, firm size and wages in the telecommunications sector," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 201-217, July.
    20. Asplund, Rita, 2002. "The Disappearing Wage Premium of Computer Skills," Discussion Papers 619, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    21. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pb:p:2165-2214 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Cassandra M. Guarino, 2005. "Reinterpreting the Skill-biased Technological Change Hypothesis A Study of Technology, Firm Size, and Wage Inequality in the California Hospital Industry," Working Papers WR-316, RAND Corporation.
    23. Timothy Dunne & James A Schmitz Jr., 1992. "Wages, Employer Size-Wage Premia and Employment Structure: Their Relationship to Advanced-Technology Usage at U.S. Manufacturing Establishments," Working Papers 92-15, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

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