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The Role of Comparative Advantage and Learning in Wage Dynamics and Intrafirm Mobility: Evidence from Germany

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  • Stéphanie Lluis

    (Economics Department, Université de Montréal)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the dynamics of wages and workers' mobility within firms with a hierarchical structure of job levels. The theoretical model proposed by Gibbons and Waldman (1999), that combines the notions of human capital accumulation, job rank assignments based on comparative advantage and learning about workers' abilities, is implemented empirically to measure the importance of these elements in explaining the wage policy of firms. Survey data from the GSOEP (German Socio-Economic Panel) are used to draw conclusions on the common features characterizing the wage policy of firms from a large sample of firms. The GSOEP survey also provides information on the worker's rank within his firm which is usually not available in other surveys. The results are consistent with non-random selection of workers onto the rungs of a job ladder. There is no direct evidence of learning about workers' unobserved abilities but the analysis reveals that unmeasured ability is an important factor driving wage dynamics. Finally, job rank effects remain significant even after controlling for measured and unmeasured characteristics.

Suggested Citation

  • Stéphanie Lluis, 2002. "The Role of Comparative Advantage and Learning in Wage Dynamics and Intrafirm Mobility: Evidence from Germany," 10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002 C2-3, International Conferences on Panel Data.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpd:pd2002:c2-3
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    2. Robert Gibbons & Michael Waldman, 2006. "Enriching a Theory of Wage and Promotion Dynamics inside Firms," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(1), pages 59-108, January.
    3. Nakabayashi, Masaki, 2011. "Schooling, employer learning, and internal labor market effect: Wage dynamics and human capital investment in the Japanese steel industry, 1930-1960s," MPRA Paper 30597, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Delfgaauw, Josse, 2007. "The effect of job satisfaction on job search: Not just whether, but also where," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 299-317, June.
    5. Adrian Chadi & Laszlo Goerke, 2015. "Missing at Work – Sickness-related Absence and Subsequent Job Mobility," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201504, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
    6. Dora Gicheva, 2013. "Working Long Hours and Early Career Outcomes in the High-End Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(4), pages 785-824.
    7. Robert Gibbons & Lawrence F. Katz & Thomas Lemieux & Daniel Parent, 2005. "Comparative Advantage, Learning, and Sectoral Wage Determination," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 681-724, October.
    8. Zaharieva, Anna & Dawid, Herbert & Mitkova, Mariya, 2021. "Optimal Promotions of Competing Firms in a Frictional Labour Market with Organizational Hierarchies," VfS Annual Conference 2021 (Virtual Conference): Climate Economics 242337, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    9. NAKABAYASHI, Masaki, 2011. "Acquired Skills and Learned Abilities: Wage Dynamics of Blue-collar Workers in Internal Labor Markets," ISS Discussion Paper Series (series F) f153, Institute of Social Science, The University of Tokyo, revised Apr 2012.
    10. Dohmen, Thomas J., 2004. "Performance, seniority, and wages: formal salary systems and individual earnings profiles," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(6), pages 741-763, December.
    11. Neugart, Michael & Zaharieva, Anna, 2018. "Social Networks, Promotions, and the Glass-Ceiling Effect," Center for Mathematical Economics Working Papers 601, Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University.
    12. Kevin McKinney & Lars Vilhuber, 2006. "Using linked employer-employee data to investigate the speed of adjustments in downsizing firms," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2006-03, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    13. Bas Klaauw & António Dias da Silva, 2011. "Wage dynamics and promotions inside and between firms," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(4), pages 1513-1548, October.
    14. Anders Frederiksen & Timothy Halliday & Alexander K. Koch, 2016. "Within- and Cross-Firm Mobility and Earnings Growth," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 69(2), pages 320-353, March.
    15. ZHANGALIYEVA, Aigerim & NAKABAYASHI, Masaki, 2013. "Legacy of Czar: The Russian Dual System of Schooling and Signaling," ISS Discussion Paper Series (series F) f163, Institute of Social Science, The University of Tokyo, revised 04 Sep 2019.
    16. Edward P. Lazear & Paul Oyer, 2012. "Personnel Economics," Introductory Chapters, in: Robert Gibbons & John Roberts (ed.),The Handbook of Organizational Economics, Princeton University Press.
    17. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Personnel Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121883, February.
    18. Michael Waldman, 2012. "Theory and Evidence in Internal Labor Markets," Introductory Chapters, in: Robert Gibbons & John Roberts (ed.),The Handbook of Organizational Economics, Princeton University Press.
    19. Valerie Smeets & Michael Waldman & Frederic Warzynski, 2019. "Performance, Career Dynamics, and Span of Control," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(4), pages 1183-1213.
    20. Hugh Cassidy, 2017. "Task Variation Within Occupations," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 393-410, July.
    21. Stéphanie Lluis & Jean Abraham, 2013. "The Wage–Health Insurance Trade-off and Worker Selection: Evidence From the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey 1997 to 2006," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 541-581, April.
    22. Jin, Xin, 2014. "The Signaling Role of Note Being Promoted: Theory and Evidence," MPRA Paper 58484, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    23. Xin Jin, 2014. "The Signaling Role of Not Being Promoted: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 0314, University of South Florida, Department of Economics.
    24. Ana Ferrer & Stéphanie Lluis, 2008. "Should Workers Care about Firm Size?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 62(1), pages 104-125, October.
    25. Chadi, Adrian & Goerke, Laszlo, 2018. "Missing at work – Sickness-related absence and subsequent career events," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 153-176.

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    Keywords

    Wage dynamics; intra-firm mobility; human capital accumulation; unobserved heterogeneity; learning;
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