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Worker Churning and Firms’ Wage Policies

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  • Pedro S. Martins

Abstract

If a random firm were to increase its wages, would that decrease the firm’s churning (“excessive” worker reallocation)? Although the trade-off between wage and churning costs has received attention in both the labour and HRM literatures, there seems to be no evidence about the causal impact of wages upon churning. This paper seeks to fill that gap by considering detailed Portuguese matched employer-employee panel data and different identification methods. After presenting comprehensive evidence about job and worker flows and churning, we find that even models based on within-firm time differences do still generate the negative association between wages and turnover found in most research. However, that result no longer holds when we consider instrumental variables based on minimum wages determined by collective bargaining arrangements. One possible interpretation of our finding is that workers’ effort may not be sufficiently sensitive to wages: employers may replace workers priced out of the labour market with more skilled individuals, so that churning does not fall.

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro S. Martins, 2008. "Worker Churning and Firms’ Wage Policies," Working Papers 13, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgs:wpaper:13
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    1. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Social Preferences and the Response to Incentives: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, pages 917-962.
    2. Ana Rute Cardoso & Pedro Portugal, 2005. "Contractual Wages and the Wage Cushion under Different Bargaining Settings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 875-902, October.
    3. Lane, Julia & Stevens, David & Burgess, Simon, 1996. "Worker and job flows," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 109-113, April.
    4. Burgess, Simon & Lane, Julia & Stevens, David, 2001. "Churning dynamics: an analysis of hires and separations at the employer level," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 1-14, January.
    5. Burgess, Simon & Lane, Julia & Stevens, David, 2000. "Job Flows, Worker Flows, and Churning," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 473-502, July.
    6. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Wolter H. J. Hassink & Jan C. Van Ours, 1996. "Job Turnover and Labor Turnover: A taxinomy of Employment Dynamics," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, pages 21-40.
    7. David E. Guest & Jonathan Michie & Neil Conway & Maura Sheehan, 2003. "Human Resource Management and Corporate Performance in the UK," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 41(2), pages 291-314, June.
    8. Pedro Portugal & Olivier Blanchard, 2001. "What Hides Behind an Unemployment Rate: Comparing Portuguese and U.S. Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 187-207.
    9. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, January.
    10. John M. Abowd & Patrick Corbel & Francis Kramarz, 1999. "The Entry And Exit Of Workers And The Growth Of Employment: An Analysis Of French Establishments," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 170-187.
    11. Pekka Ilmakunnas & Mika Maliranta, 2005. "Worker inflow, outflow, and churning," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(10), pages 1115-1133.
    12. John M. Abowd & Patrick Corbel & Francis Kramarz, 1999. "The Entry And Exit Of Workers And The Growth Of Employment: An Analysis Of French Establishments," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 170-187.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00593952 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Pedro S. Martins, 2016. "Can overtime premium flexibility promote employment? Firm-and worker-level evidence from a labour law reform," FEUNL Working Paper Series wp607, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.
    3. Pedro S. Martins, 2016. "Should the maximum duration of fixed-term contracts increase in recessions? Evidence from a law reform," FEUNL Working Paper Series wp606, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.
    4. Pedro S. Martins, 2014. "30,000 Minimum Wages: The Economic Effects of Collective Bargaining Extensions," FEUNL Working Paper Series wp589, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.
    5. Richard Duhautois & Fabrice Gilles & Héloïse Petit, 2012. "Worker flows and establishment wage differentials : a breakdown of the relationship," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00833872, HAL.
    6. Pedro S. Martins, 2014. "30,000 Minimum Wages: The Economic Effects of Collective Bargaining Extensions," FEUNL Working Paper Series wp589, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.
    7. Pedro S. Martins, 2014. "30,000 minimum wages: The economic effects of collective agreement extensions," Working Papers 51, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Worker Turnover; Endogeneity; Personnel Economics; Efficiency Wages;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • M50 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - General

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