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A Simple Test of the Shirking Model

  • Alan Manning
  • J Thomas

Although popular in some circles, efficiency wage models of the labour market have proved surprisingly difficult to test and direct evidence for the central tenets of the theory is rare to non-existent. In this paper we propose a simple test of the Shapiro-Stiglitz shirking model which is based on the following idea. In the traditional search model the distribution of accepted wages should be truncated below by the reservation wage. But, if shirking is important then the employer will never want to employ a worker at their reservation wage and the distribution of accepted wages should be truncated below by the reservation wage plus something. That something is a measure of the importance of shirking. We test this prediction using data from the UK Survey of Incomes In and Out of Work. The results are not particularly supportive of the shirking model.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0374.

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Date of creation: Nov 1997
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0374
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. Christensen, Bent Jesper & Kiefer, Nicholas M., 1991. "The Exact Likelihood Function for an Empirical Job Search Model," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(04), pages 464-486, December.
  2. Vuong, Quang H, 1989. "Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-nested Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 307-33, March.
  3. 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.
  4. Weiss, Andrew W, 1980. "Job Queues and Layoffs in Labor Markets with Flexible Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 526-38, June.
  5. William T. Dickens & Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Interindustry Wage Differences and Industry Characteristics," NBER Working Papers 2014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. W. Bentley MacLeod & James M. Malcomson, 1986. "Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment," Working Papers 585, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  7. Wadhwani, S. & Wall, M., 1988. "A Direct Test Of The Efficiency Wage Model Using Uk Micro- Data," Papers 313, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  8. Blau, David M, 1991. "Search for Nonwage Job Characteristics: A Test of the Reservation Wage Hypothesis," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 186-205, April.
  9. Heckman, James J, 1984. "The x[superscript]2 Goodness of Fit Statistic for Models with Parameters Estimated from Microdata," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1543-47, November.
  10. Michael P. Keane, 1993. "Individual Heterogeneity and Interindustry Wage Differentials," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(1), pages 134-161.
  11. Macleod, W.B. & Malcomson, J., 1989. "Wage Premiums And Profit Maximisation In Efficiency Wage Models," Papers 337, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  12. Levine, David I, 1992. "Can Wage Increases Pay for Themselves? Tests with a Production Function," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(414), pages 1102-15, September.
  13. Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan, 1992. "Testing Dynamic Models of Worker Effort," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(3), pages 288-305, July.
  14. Lazear, Edward P, 1981. "Agency, Earnings Profiles, Productivity, and Hours Restrictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 606-20, September.
  15. Christensen, Bent Jesper & Kiefer, Nicholas M, 1994. "Measurement Error in the Prototypal Job-Search Model," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(4), pages 618-39, October.
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