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Wage and Productivity differentials in Japan. The Role of Labor Market Mechanisms

  • Kalantzis, Y.
  • Kambayashi, R.
  • Lechevalier, S.

This paper aims at explaining two stylized facts of the Lost Decade in Japan: rising wage inequalities and increasing firm-level productivity differentials. We build a model where firms can choose between efficiency wages with endogenous effort and competitive wages, and show that it can replicate those facts. Using Japanese microeconomic data, we find support for the existence of efficiency wages in one group of firms and competitive wages in the other group. Based on those results, a simulation shows that the share of firms using efficiency wages has declined, within sectors, during the Lost Decade, as predicted by the model.

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Paper provided by Banque de France in its series Working papers with number 399.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bfr:banfra:399
Contact details of provider: Postal: Banque de France 31 Rue Croix des Petits Champs LABOLOG - 49-1404 75049 PARIS
Web page: http://www.banque-france.fr/

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  1. Kyoji Fukao & Hyeog Ug Kwon, 2004. "Why Did Japan's TFP Growth Slow Down in the Lost Decade?: An Empirical Analysis Based on Firm-Level Data of Manufacturing Firms," Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series d04-50, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  2. Bloom, Nicholas & Van Reenen, John, 2006. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 5581, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-44, September.
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  6. Adam S. Posen & Ryoichi Mikitani (ed.), 2000. "Japan's Financial Crisis and Its Parallels to U. S. Experience," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number sr13, March.
  7. Dickens, William T & Lang, Kevin, 1985. "A Test of Dual Labor Market Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 792-805, September.
  8. ITO Keiko & Sebastien LECHEVALIER, 2008. "The evolution of the productivity dispersion of firms - A reevaluation of its determinants in the case of Japan," Discussion papers 08014, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  9. Ryo Kambayashi & Daiji Kawaguchi & Izumi Yokoyama, 2006. "Wage Distribution in Japan: 1989-2003," Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series d06-183, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  10. Julia I. Lane & John C. Haltiwanger & James Spletzer, 1999. "Productivity Differences across Employers: The Roles of Employer Size, Age, and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 94-98, May.
  11. Toshiaki Tachibanaki, 2005. "Confronting Income Inequality in Japan: A Comparative Analysis of Causes, Consequences, and Reform," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262201585, June.
  12. Timothy Dunne & Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Kenneth Troske, 2000. "Wage and Productivity Dispersion in U.S. Manufacturing: The Role of Computer Investment," Working Papers 00-01, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  13. Katharine G. Abraham & Susan N. Houseman, 1993. "Job Security and Work Force Adjustment: How Different are U.S. and Japanese Practices?," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, in: Christopher F. Buechtemann (ed.), Employment Security and Labor Market Behavior: Interdisciplinary Approaches and International Evidence, pages 180-199 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  14. Giulia Faggio & Kjell Salvanes & John Van Reenen, 2007. "The Evolution of Inequality in Productivity and Wages: Panel Data Evidence," CEP Discussion Papers dp0821, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  15. Houseman, Susan N & Abraham, Katharine G, 1993. "Female Workers as a Buffer in the Japanese Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 45-51, May.
  16. Stephen Machin, 2008. "An Appraisal of Economic Research on Changes in Wage Inequality," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(s1), pages 7-26, 06.
  17. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
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  19. Masahiro Abe & Isao Ohashi, 2004. "Inter-Industry and Firm Size Effects on Wage Differentials and Efficiency Wages in Japan," Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series d04-25, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  20. Adam S. Posen & Ryoichi Mikitani (ed.), 2000. "Japan's Financial Crisis and Its Parallels to U. S. Experience," Peterson Institute Press: Special Reports, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number sr13, May.
  21. Antoine Valeyre, 2004. "Forms of Work Intensification and Economic Performance in French Manufacturing," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 643-658, Fall.
  22. Kato, Takao, 2001. "The End of Lifetime Employment in Japan?: Evidence from National Surveys and Field Research," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 489-514, December.
  23. Oi, Walter Y, 1983. "Heterogeneous Firms and the Organization of Production," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(2), pages 147-71, April.
  24. Scott M. Fuess & Meghan Millea, 2002. "Do Employers Pay Efficiency Wages? Evidence from Japan," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 23(2), pages 278-292, April.
  25. Richard B. Freeman & James L. Medoff, 1983. "Trade Unions and Productivity: Some New Evidence on an Old Issue," NBER Working Papers 1249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Fumio OHTAKE, 2008. "Inequality in Japan," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 3(1), pages 87-109.
  27. Bruno Amable & Donatella Gatti, 2004. "Product market competition, job security, and aggregate employment," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 667-686, October.
  28. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415, July.
  29. William T. Dickens & Kevin Lang, 1985. "Testing Dual Labor Market Theory: A Reconsideration of the Evidence," NBER Working Papers 1670, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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