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Within-establishment wage inequality and satisfaction

Author

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  • Poggi, Ambra

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to provide fresh empirical evidence on the mechanisms through which wage inequality affects worker satisfaction.Theoretically, the wages of others may affect workers' utility for two main reasons: Workers may derive well-being from their social status (the comparison effect) and/or they may use others' wages to help predict their own future wage (the information effect). The author tests both hypotheses. To do this, she models individual utility from pay as a function of a workers own wage and the earnings of all other workers within the same establishment, and she estimates the model using matched British employeremployee data. The author assumes incomplete information about others' wages. She finds that the comparison effect matters. Interestingly, she also provides some evidence on a positive relation between well-being and inequality. Her results are robust to different specifications and different definitions of the reference group.

Suggested Citation

  • Poggi, Ambra, 2014. "Within-establishment wage inequality and satisfaction," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 8, pages 1-21.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifweej:20144
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5018/economics-ejournal.ja.2014-4
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/91616/1/77754539X.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. George A. Akerlof & Janet L. Yellen, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-283.
    2. Angus Deaton, 2003. "Health, Inequality, and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 113-158, March.
    3. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
    4. Albert O. Hirschman & Michael Rothschild, 1973. "The Changing Tolerance for Income Inequality in the Course of Economic DevelopmentWith A Mathematical Appendix," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(4), pages 544-566.
    5. M Patterson & P Warr & M West, 2004. "Organizational Climate and Company Productivity: the Role of Employee Affect and Employee Level," CEP Discussion Papers dp0626, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    6. Robson, Arthur J, 1992. "Status, the Distribution of Wealth, Private and Social Attitudes to Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(4), pages 837-857, July.
    7. Andrew E. Clark & Nicolai Kristensen & Niels Westergård-Nielsen, 2009. "Economic Satisfaction and Income Rank in Small Neighbourhoods," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 519-527, 04-05.
    8. Seidl, Christian & Traub, Stefan & Morone, Andrea, 2003. "Relative Deprivation, Personal Income Satisfaction, and Average Well-Being under Different Income Distributions," Economics Working Papers 2003-05, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    9. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    10. P. J. Sloane & H. Williams, 2000. "Job Satisfaction, Comparison Earnings, and Gender," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 14(3), pages 473-502, September.
    11. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Satisfaction; comparison income; co-workers; inequality; incomplete information;

    JEL classification:

    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods

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