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Returns to Tenure or Seniority

  • Sebastian Buhai
  • Miguel Portela
  • Coen Teulings
  • Aico van Vuuren

This study documents two empirical facts using matched employer-employee data for Denmark and Portugal. First, workers who are hired last, are the first to leave the firm. Second, workers’ wages rise with seniority (= a worker’s tenure relative to the tenure of her colleagues). The identification problems for the wage return to tenure are shown not to apply to the return to seniority because seniority is not a deterministic function of time. Controlling for tenure, the probability of leaving the firm decreases with seniority. The increase in expected seniority with tenure explains a large part of the negative duration dependence of the hazard. Using a variety of estimation methods, we show that a 10% increase in seniority raises your wage by 0.1-0.2%, depending on the country and the method applied. Conditional on ten years of tenure, one standard deviation of seniority raises your wage by 0.5 to 1.6 percent. Forthcoming in Econometrica.

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File URL: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/research/repec/cam/pdf/cwpe1335.pdf
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Paper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 1335.

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Date of creation: 07 Oct 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:1335
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/index.htm

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  1. Joseph G. Altonji & Nicolas Williams, 1997. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority? A Reassessment," NBER Working Papers 6010, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Costas Meghir & Luigi Pistaferri, 2001. "Income variance dynamics and heterogenity," IFS Working Papers W01/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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  5. Buhai, Ioan Sebastian & Teulings, Coen N, 2006. "Tenure Profiles and Efficient Separation in a Stochastic Productivity Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 5577, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  13. Altonji, Joseph G & Shakotko, Robert A, 1987. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 437-59, July.
  14. Bertrand, Marianne & Mullainathan, Sendhil, 2003. "Enjoying the Quiet Life? Corporate Governance and Managerial Preferences," Scholarly Articles 3429713, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  16. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
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  19. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
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