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Age, Wage and Productivity


  • Jan C. van Ours
  • Lenny Stoeldraijer


Previous empirical studies on the effect of age on productivity and wages find contradicting results. Some studies find that if workers grow older there is an increasing gap between productivity and wages, i.e. wages increase with age while productivity does not or does not increase at the same pace. However, other studies find no evidence of such an age related pay-productivity gap. We perform an analysis of the relationship between age, wage and productivity using a matched worker-firm panel dataset from Dutch manufacturing covering the period 2000-2005. We find little evidence of an age related pay-productivity gap.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan C. van Ours & Lenny Stoeldraijer, 2010. "Age, Wage and Productivity," CESifo Working Paper Series 2965, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2965

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2003. "Instrumental variables and GMM: Estimation and testing," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 3(1), pages 1-31, March.
    2. Benoit Dostie, 2011. "Wages, Productivity and Aging," De Economist, Springer, vol. 159(2), pages 139-158, June.
    3. Jan Ours, 2009. "Will You Still Need Me: When I’m 64?," De Economist, Springer, vol. 157(4), pages 441-460, December.
    4. Thierry Lallemand & François Rycx, 2009. "Are Older Workers Harmful for Firm Productivity?," De Economist, Springer, vol. 157(3), pages 273-292, September.
    5. Malmberg, Bo & Lindh, Thomas & Halvarsson, Max, 2005. "Productivity consequences of workforce ageing - Stagnation or a Horndal effect?," Arbetsrapport 2005:17, Institute for Futures Studies.
    6. Vegard Skirbekk, 2004. "Age and Individual Productivity: A Literature Survey," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 2(1), pages 133-154.
    7. Göbel, Christian & Zwick, Thomas, 2009. "Age and productivity: evidence from linked employer employee data," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-020, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    8. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2007. "Enhanced routines for instrumental variables/GMM estimation and testing," CERT Discussion Papers 0706, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
    9. Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark, 2007. "Production Function and Wage Equation Estimation with Heterogeneous Labor: Evidence from a New Matched Employer-Employee Data Set," NBER Chapters,in: Hard-to-Measure Goods and Services: Essays in Honor of Zvi Griliches, pages 31-71 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Ilmakunnas, Pekka & Maliranta, Mika, 2007. "Aging, Labor Turnover and Firm Performance," Discussion Papers 1092, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    11. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2007. "Enhanced routines for instrumental variables/generalized method of moments estimation and testing," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 7(4), pages 465-506, December.
    12. Hellerstein, Judith K & Neumark, David & Troske, Kenneth R, 1999. "Wages, Productivity, and Worker Characteristics: Evidence from Plant-Level Production Functions and Wage Equations," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(3), pages 409-446, July.
    13. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-1284, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jan Ours, 2009. "Will You Still Need Me: When I’m 64?," De Economist, Springer, vol. 157(4), pages 441-460, December.
    2. Mahlberg, Bernhard & Freund, Inga & Crespo Cuaresma, Jesús & Prskawetz, Alexia, 2013. "Ageing, productivity and wages in Austria," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 5-15.
    3. Alessandra Cataldi & Stephan Kampelmann & François Rycx, 2012. "Does it pay to be productive? The case of age groups," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 33(3), pages 264-283, June.
    4. Benoit Dostie, 2011. "Wages, Productivity and Aging," De Economist, Springer, vol. 159(2), pages 139-158, June.
    5. Pekka Ilmakunnas & Seija Ilmakunnas, 2011. "Diversity at the Workplace: Whom Does it Benefit?," De Economist, Springer, vol. 159(2), pages 223-255, June.
    6. Pekka Ilmakunnas & Mika Maliranta, 2016. "How does the age structure of worker flows affect firm performance?," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 43-62, August.
    7. Christian Göbel & Thomas Zwick, 2012. "Age and Productivity: Sector Differences," De Economist, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 35-57, March.
    8. Pierre Pestieau & Gregory Ponthiere, 2017. "Optimal fertility under age-dependent labour productivity," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(2), pages 621-646, April.
    9. Böckerman, Petri & Bryson, Alex & Ilmakunnas, Pekka, 2012. "Does high involvement management improve worker wellbeing?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 660-680.
    10. Paul Hek & Daniel Vuuren, 2011. "Are older workers overpaid? A literature review," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 18(4), pages 436-460, August.
    11. Fidrmuc, Jarko & Senaj, Matus, 2012. "Human Capital, Consumption, and Housing Wealth in Transition," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62058, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. Benoît Mahy & François Rycx & Mélanie Volral, 2011. "Does Wage Dispersion Make All Firms Productive?," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 58(4), pages 455-489, September.
    13. Anna Ruzik-Sierdzinska & Claudia Villosio & Michele Belloni & Maciej Lis & Monika Potoczna, 2013. "Age and productivity. Human Capital Accumulation and Depreciation," CASE Network Reports 0114, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
    14. Hendrik P. Van Dalen & Kène Henkens & Joop Schippers, 2010. "How do employers cope with an ageing workforce?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 22(32), pages 1015-1036, June.

    More about this item


    age; wage; productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials


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