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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, August.
  • 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. 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.
    2. Naércio Aquino Menezes Filho & Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2007. "Labor Reallocation in Response to Trade Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 1936, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Lorraine Dearden & Howard Reed & John Van Reenen, 2006. "The Impact of Training on Productivity and Wages: Evidence from British Panel Data," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 68(4), pages 397-421, 08.
    4. James R. Tybout, 2000. "Manufacturing Firms in Developing Countries: How Well Do They Do, and Why?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 11-44, March.
    5. Fafchamps, Marcel, 1997. "Introduction: Markets in sub-saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 733-734, May.
    6. 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.
    7. Paul Collier & Marcel Fafchamps & Francis Teal & Stefan Dercon, 1998. "Rates of return on physical and human capital in Africa`s manufacturing sector," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1998-12, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    8. Bigsten, Arne, et al, 2000. "Rates of Return on Physical and Human Capital in Africa's Manufacturing Sector," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(4), pages 801-27, July.
    9. Jones, Patricia, 2001. "Are educated workers really more productive?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 57-79, February.
    10. 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.
    11. Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2007. "Wages Equal Productivity. Fact or Fiction?," Working Papers tecipa-294, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    12. Judith Hellerstein & David Neumark, 2004. "Production Function and Wage Equation Estimation with Heterogenous Labor: Evidence from a New Matched Employer-Employee Dataset," Working Papers 04-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    13. 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.
    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.
    15. 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.
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