The Effect Of Takeovers On The Employment And Wages Of Central-Office And Other Personnel
Recent high rates of takeover activity have stimulated considerable interest and concern among policymakers and the public about changes in corporate ownership, but relatively little evidence about the "read" (as opposed to financial) effects of takeovers has been available. This paper presents evidence concerning the effects of ownership change on the employment and wages of central-office workers -- according to some views, those likely to be most affected by takeovers -- and contracts them with the effects on manufacturing plant employees. The evidence is based on a large, longitudinal, plant-level data set derived from Census Bureau surveys of both administrative and production establishments. The major findings of the analysis are as follows. Central offices that changed owners between 1977 and 1982 had substantially lower -- about 16 percent lower -- employment growth during that period than central offices not changing owners. (There was, however, no significant difference in the growth of R&D employment.) They also had slower growth in wages -- about 9 percent lower. Changing owners had a much more negative effect on employment growth in central offices than it did in manufacturing plants: 16 percent compared to 5 percent. This implies that the ratio of central-office to plant employees declines about 11 percent in firms changing owners: about 7.2 administrators per 10-00 plant employees are eliminated. These findings are consistent with the view that reduction of administrative overhead is an important motive for changes in ownership. Failure to account for reductions in central-office employment results in a substantial (about 40 percent) underestimate of the productivity gains associated with ownership change. We also provide evidence concerning the relationship between firm size and administrative-intensity.
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National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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