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Earnings-Tenure Profiles: Tests of Agency and Human Capital Theories using Individual Performance Data

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Abstract

By using a large new panel of individual data, including objective measures of worker performance, we provide some of the most rigorous evidence to date on several related dimensions of enduring debates surrounding upward-sloping earnings-tenure profiles. Most importantly we provide the first direct test of the relative validity of human capital and agency explanations in accounting for upward-sloping earnings-tenure profiles; our findings strongly support the agency view. Our second area of interest concerns employee ownership (many workers at our case are employee owners.) Consistent with agency theory we find that earnings-tenure profiles for employee owners are not upward-sloping but horizontal. In addition we find that pay-performance sensitivities are substantially weaker for employee owners than for other workers. Finally we investigate the impact of residential policies in China. We find that again consistent with the agency view, earnings-tenure profiles are considerably steeper for urban workers than for migrant workers with far more limited alternative employment opportunities.

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  • Dong, Xia-Yuan & Jones, Derek & Kato, Takao, 2007. "Earnings-Tenure Profiles: Tests of Agency and Human Capital Theories using Individual Performance Data," Working Papers 104-26, Department of Economics, Colgate University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgt:wpaper:104-26
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    Cited by:

    1. John S. Heywood & Uwe Jirjahn, 2016. "The hiring and employment of older workers in Germany: a comparative perspective
      [Die Beschäftigung und Neueinstellung älterer Arbeitnehmer in Deutschland: Eine vergleichende Perspektive]
      ," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 49(4), pages 349-366, December.
    2. John S. Heywood & Uwe Jirjahn, 2015. "The German Labor Market for Older Workers in Comparative Perspective," Research Papers in Economics 2015-02, University of Trier, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Earnings; Tenure; Seniority; Performance; Human Capital; Agency; Employee Ownership;

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics
    • L6 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing

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