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Salary or Benefits?

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  • Oyer, Paul

Abstract

Employer-provided benefits are a large and growing share of compensation costs. In this paper, I consider three factors that can affect the value created by employer-sponsored benefits. First, firms have a comparative advantage (for example, due to scale economies or tax treatment) in purchasing relative to employees. This advantage can vary across firms based on size and other differences in cost structure. Second, employees differ in their valuations of benefits and it is costly for workers to match with firms that offer the benefits they value. Finally, some benefits can reduce the marginal cost to an employee of extra working time. I develop a simple model that integrates these factors. I then generate empirical implications of the model and use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to test these implications. I examine access to employer-provided meals, child-care, dental insurance, and health insurance. I also study how benefits are grouped together and differences between benefits packages at for-profit, not-for-profit, and government employers. The empirical analysis provides evidence consistent with all three factors in the model contributing to firms’ decisions about which benefits to offer.

Suggested Citation

  • Oyer, Paul, 2004. "Salary or Benefits?," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt8xs3k3j8, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucscec:qt8xs3k3j8
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Edward P. Lazear & Kathryn L. Shaw, 2007. "Personnel Economics: The Economist's View of Human Resources," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 91-114, Fall.
    2. Juurikkala, Tuuli & Lazareva, Olga, 2006. "Non-wage benefits, costs turnover, and labor attachment : evidence from Russian firms," BOFIT Discussion Papers 4/2006, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
    3. Emmanuelle Auriol & Régis Renault, 2008. "Status and incentives," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(1), pages 305-326.
    4. Jan Babecký & Philip Du Caju & Theodora Kosma & Martina Lawless & Julián Messina & Tairi Rõõm, 2010. "Downward Nominal and Real Wage Rigidity: Survey Evidence from European Firms," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 112(4), pages 884-910, December.
    5. Aaron Lowen & Paul Sicilian, 2009. "“Family-Friendly” Fringe Benefits and the Gender Wage Gap," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 30(2), pages 101-119, June.
    6. Tuuli Juurikkala & Olga Lazareva, 2006. "Non-wage benefits, costs of turnover, and labor attachment: evidence from Russian firms," Working Papers w0062, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
    7. Tuuli Juurikkala & Olga Lazareva, 2012. "Non‐wage benefits, costs of turnover and labour attachment," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 20(1), pages 113-136, January.
    8. Pattarin Adithipyangkul & Ilan Alon & Tianyu Zhang, 2011. "Executive perks: Compensation and corporate performance in China," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 401-425, June.
    9. Marianne Bitler & Lucie Schmidt, 2012. "Utilization of Infertility Treatments: The Effects of Insurance Mandates," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(1), pages 125-149, February.
    10. Bruno De Borger & Amihai Glazer, 2010. "Subsidizing Consumption to Signal Quality of Workers," Working Papers 101101, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    11. Marjorie Honig & Irena Dushi, 2005. "Household Demand for Health Insurance: Price and Spouse's Coverage," Economics Working Paper Archive at Hunter College 411, Hunter College Department of Economics.
    12. Babecký, Jan & Du Caju, Philip & Kosma, Theodora & Lawless, Martina & Messina, Julián & Rõõm, Tairi, 2012. "How do European firms adjust their labour costs when nominal wages are rigid?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 792-801.
    13. Anthony M. Marino & Ján Zábojník, 2008. "A Rent Extraction View of Employee Discounts and Benefits," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 485-518, July.
    14. Jan Babecky & Clemence Berson & Ludmila Fadejeva & Ana Lamo & Petra Marotzke & Fernando Martins & Pawel Strzelecki, "undated". "Non-base Wage Components as a Source of Wage Adaptability to Shocks: Evidence from European Firms, 2010-2013," Working Papers 2018/1, Czech National Bank, Research Department.
    15. Rajan, Raghuram G. & Wulf, Julie, 2006. "Are perks purely managerial excess?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 1-33, January.
    16. Edward P. Lazear & Paul Oyer, 2012. "Personnel Economics," Introductory Chapters,in: Robert Gibbons & John Roberts (ed.), The Handbook of Organizational Economics Princeton University Press.
    17. Anthony M. Marino & Ján Zábojník, 2008. "Work-related perks, agency problems, and optimal incentive contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(2), pages 565-585.
    18. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Personnel Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121883, March.
    19. Federico Cingano & Alfonso Rosolia, 2012. "People I Know: Job Search and Social Networks," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 291-332.
    20. Sunny Sun & Xia Zhao & Haibin Yang, 2010. "Executive compensation in Asia: A critical review and outlook," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 27(4), pages 775-802, December.
    21. Federico Cingano & Alfonso Rosolia, 2006. "People I Know: Workplace Networks and Job Search Outcomes," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 600, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    22. Michael D. Grubb & Paul Oyer, 2008. "Who Benefits from Tax-Advantaged Employee Benefits?: Evidence from University Parking," NBER Working Papers 14062, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Hammermann, Andrea & Mohnen, Alwine, 2012. "Who Benefits from Benefits? Empirical Research on Tangible Incentives," IZA Discussion Papers 6284, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law

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