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Estimating Wage-Fringe Trade-Offs: Some Data Problems

In: The Measurement of Labor Cost

  • Robert S. Smith
  • Ronald G. Ehrenberg

Our paper attempts to identify the types of data nee3ed to estimate tradeoffs between wages and fringe benefits (such as pensions); it also explores the usefulness for this estimation of one particular employer- based data set collected by gay Associates. We stress three things: first, that employer-based data sets are required. Second, because pensions and many other fringe benefits are actuarial functions of wages or salaries, these technical relationships must be accounted for in estimation. Third, to take account of unobservable heterogeneity of employees across employers, one must use econometric methods that control for these unobservable variables. The paper concludes with a discussion of our attempts to estimate the tradeoff between wages and fringe benefits using a unique database for 200 establishments that contains information on wages and actuarial valuations of employer costs of fringe benefits at three different job levels.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Jack E. Triplett, 1983. "The Measurement of Labor Cost," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number trip83-1, October.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 7384.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:7384
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. Roger H. Gordon & Alan S. Blinder, 1980. "Market wages, reservation wages, and retirement decisions," NBER Chapters, in: Econometric Studies in Public Finance, pages 277-308 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Lazear, Edward P, 1981. "Agency, Earnings Profiles, Productivity, and Hours Restrictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 606-20, September.
    3. Ehrenberg, Ronald G. & Schwarz, Joshua L., 1987. "Public-sector labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1219-1260 Elsevier.
    4. Smith, Robert Stewart, 1981. "Compensating Differentials for Pensions and Underfunding in the Public Sector," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(3), pages 463-68, August.
    5. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
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