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Wage and Productivity Premiums in Sub-Saharan Africa

In: The Analysis of Firms and Employees: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches

  • Johannes Van Biesebroeck

Using a matched employer-employee data set of manufacturing plants in three sub-Saharan countries, I compare the marginal productivity of different categories of workers with the wages they earn. A methodological contribution is to estimate the firm level production function jointly with the individual level wage equation using a feasible GLS estimator. The additional information of individual workers leads to more precise estimates, especially of the wage premiums, and to a more accurate test. The results indicate that equality holds strongly for the most developed country in the sample (Zimbabwe), but not at all for the least developed country (Tanzania). Moreover, the breakdown in correct remuneration in the two least developed countries follows a distinct pattern. On the one hand, wage premiums exceed productivity premiums for general human capital characteristics (experience and schooling). On the other hand, salaries hardly increase for more firm-specific human capital characteristics (tenure and training), even though these have a clear productivity effect.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Stefan Bender & Julia Lane & Kathryn Shaw & Fredrik Andersson & Till von Wachter, 2008. "The Analysis of Firms and Employees: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bend08-1, 07.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 9121.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:9121
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. James Tybout, 1999. "Manufacturing Firms in Developing Countries: How Well Do They Do, and Why?," Development and Comp Systems 9906001, EconWPA, revised 10 Jun 1999.
    2. Van Biesebroeck, Johannes, 2011. "Wages Equal Productivity. Fact or Fiction? Evidence from Sub Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(8), pages 1333-1346, August.
    3. Bruno Crépon & Nicolas Deniau & Sébastien Pérez-Duarte, 2003. "Wages, Productivity and Worker Characteristics : A French Perspective," Working Papers 2003-04, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
    4. Lorraine Dearden & Howard Reed & John Van Reenen, 2005. "The impact of training on productivity and wages: evidence from British panel data," IFS Working Papers W05/16, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    5. Naércio Aquino Menezes-Filho & Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2011. "Labor Reallocation in Response to Trade Reform," NBER Working Papers 17372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark, 2007. "Production Function and Wage Equation Estimation with Heterogeneous Labor: Evidence from a New Matched Employer-Employee Data Set," NBER Chapters, in: Hard-to-Measure Goods and Services: Essays in Honor of Zvi Griliches, pages 31-71 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Eslava, Marcela & Haltiwanger Jr, John C & Kugler, Adriana D. & Kugler, Maurice, 2004. "The Effects of Structural Reforms on Productivity- and Profitability-Enhancing Reallocation: Evidence from Colombia," CEPR Discussion Papers 4569, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Arne Bigsten & Paul Collier & Stefan Dercon & Marcel Fafchamps & Bernard Gauthier & Jan Willem Gunning & Anders Isaksson & Abena Oduro & Remco Oostendorp & Catherine Pattillo & Måns Söderbom & Francis, 1998. "Rates of return on physical and human capital in Africa's manufacturing sector," CSAE Working Paper Series 1998-12, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    9. Fafchamps, Marcel, 1997. "Introduction: Markets in sub-saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 733-734, May.
    10. Jones, Patricia, 2001. "Are educated workers really more productive?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 57-79, February.
    11. Knight, J B & Sabot, R H, 1987. "Educational Policy and Labour Productivity: An Output Accounting Exercise," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(385), pages 199-214, March.
    12. Haegeland, T. & Klette, T.J., 1998. "Do Higher Wages Reflect Higher Productivity? Education, Gender and Experience Premiums in a Matched Plant-Worker Data Set," Memorandum 24/1998, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    13. Simon Appleton & John Hoddinott & John MacKinnon, 1996. "Education and health in sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(3), pages 307-339.
    14. Van Biesebroeck, Johannes, 2005. "Firm Size Matters: Growth and Productivity Growth in African Manufacturing," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(3), pages 545-83, April.
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