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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. 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.
  2. Leonardi, Marco, 2003. "Firm Heterogeneity in Capital/Labor Ratios and Wage Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 909, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Keiko Ito & Sébastien Lechevalier, 2009. "The evolution of the productivity dispersion of firms: a reevaluation of its determinants in the case of Japan," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 145(3), pages 405-429, October.
  4. 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.
  5. Dunne, Timothy & Foster, Lucia & Haltiwanger, John C. & Troske, Kenneth, 2002. "Wage and Productivity Dispersion in U.S. Manufacturing: The Role of Computer Investment," IZA Discussion Papers 563, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Kyoji Fukao & Hyeog Ug Kwon, 2006. "Why Did Japan'S Tfp Growth Slow Down In The Lost Decade? An Empirical Analysis Based On Firm-Level Data Of Manufacturing Firms," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 57(2), pages 195-228.
  7. Giulia Faggio & Kjell Salvanes & John Van Reenen, 2007. "The Evolution of Inequality in Productivity and Wages: Panel Data Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13351, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Fumio OHTAKE, 2008. "Inequality in Japan," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 3(1), pages 87-109.
  14. 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.
  15. Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2004. "Is the Swiss Labor Market Segmented? An Analysis Using Alternative Approaches," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 18(1), pages 131-161, 03.
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