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Intra-firm Wage Dispersion and Firm Performance

  • Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf
  • Zweimüller, Josef

Personnel economics has suggested conflicting arguments about the impact of increased wage dispersion within firms on workers’ productivity and firm performance. Besides giving more advancement incentives, bigger wage differentials might also give rise to less cooperation and more politics between workers resulting in worse outcomes. We try to answer these questions using panel data for Austrian firms. As indicators for firm performance we use employment growth and standardized wages. For white-collar wages the following picture emerges: more dispersion leads to higher earnings up to some point where the relation changes direction. For blue-collar wages we find a positive association between dispersion and standardized wages between firms, but no relation within firms over time. For employment growth the results are ambiguous.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 1621.

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Date of creation: Apr 1997
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1621
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  1. Alan S. Blinder & Don H. Choi, 1990. "A Shred of Evidence on Theories of Wage Stickiness," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(4), pages 1003-1015.
  2. Milgrom, Paul R, 1988. "Employment Contracts, Influence Activities, and Efficient Organization Design," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(1), pages 42-60, February.
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  5. Agell, J. & Lundborg, P., 1992. "Theories of Pay and Unemployment: Survey Evidence from Swedish Manufacturing Firms," Papers 1993-8, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  6. Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 1992. "Endogenous Growth, Human Capital, and Industry Wages," CEPR Discussion Papers 714, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Charles Brown & James L. Medoff, 1989. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect," NBER Working Papers 2870, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Blanchflower, D. & Oswald, A. & Garrett, M., 1988. "Insider Power In Wage Determination," Papers 319, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  9. George A. Akerlof & Janet L. Yellen, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-283.
  10. Josef Zweimuller & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 1999. "Firm-Size Wage Differentials in Switzerland: Evidence from Job-Changers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 89-93, May.
  11. George Baker & Michael Gibbs & Bengt Holmstrom, 1994. "The Internal Economics of the Firm: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 881-919.
  12. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 1996. "Reciprocal fairness and noncompensating wage differentials," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5921, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  13. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Hibbs, Douglas A, Jr & Locking, Hakan, 2000. "Wage Dispersion and Productive Efficiency: Evidence for Sweden," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(4), pages 755-82, October.
  15. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
  16. Richard B. Freeman, 1982. "Union Wage Practices and Wage Dispersion within Establishments," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 36(1), pages 3-21, October.
  17. George Baker & Michael Gibbs & Bengt Holmstrom, 1994. "The Wage Policy of a Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 921-955.
  18. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Efficiency of Equity in Organizational Decision Processes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 154-59, May.
  19. Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf & Zweimuller, Josef, 1996. "Immigration and the Earnings of Young Native Workers," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(3), pages 473-91, July.
  20. Falkinger, Josef, 1999. "Social instability and redistribution of income," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 35-51, March.
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