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Worker Churning and Firms’ Wage Policies

  • Pedro S. Martins

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.

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File URL: http://webspace.qmul.ac.uk/pmartins/CGRWP13.pdf
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Paper provided by Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research in its series Working Papers with number 13.

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Date of creation: May 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cgs:wpaper:13
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  1. Hamermesh, D.S. & Hassink, W.H.J. & van Ours, J.C., 1996. "Job turnover and labor turnover : A taxonomy of employment dynamics," Other publications TiSEM 1f3fab1f-b02a-485a-bb8f-f, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  2. Lane, Julia & Stevens, David & Burgess, Simon, 1996. "Worker and job flows," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 109-113, April.
  3. 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, 06.
  4. Abowd, John M & Corbel, Patrick & Kramarz, Francis, 1997. "The Entry and Exit of Workers and the Growth of Employment: An Analysis of French Establishments," CEPR Discussion Papers 1765, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-86873 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. 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.
  7. Ilmakunnas, Pekka & Maliranta, Mika, 2003. "Worker Inflow, Outflow, and Churning," Discussion Papers 861, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  8. 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.
  9. Imran Rasul & Iwan Barankay & Orana Bandiera, 2005. "Social preferences and the response to incentives: Evidence from personnel data," Natural Field Experiments 00212, The Field Experiments Website.
  10. 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, June.
  11. 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.
  12. Pedro Portugal & Olivier Blanchard, 2001. "What Hides Behind an Unemployment Rate: Comparing Portuguese and U.S. Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 187-207, March.
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