IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Job Tenure, Wages and Technology: A Reassessment Using Matched Worker-Firm Panel Data


  • Givord, Pauline
  • Maurin, Eric


This Paper presents new estimates of the impact of job tenure on wages using a new French matched worker-firm dataset. We develop an identification strategy that relies on one specific feature of the French labour laws. They stipulate that firms, when firing workers, must include as one of their criteria the number of dependent children of their employees. Our dataset confirms that workers with a relatively large number of dependent children at the entry in the firm are, ceteris paribus, less likely to be laid-off and have on average higher job tenure than their co-workers with a relatively small number of dependent children. Within this framework, the relative number of children at entry in the firm represents a plausibly valid instrumental variable for identifying the impact of job tenure on wages. Our new IV estimate of the return to job tenure (3.1% per year) is much larger than the OLS estimate (1%). This result holds true regardless of whether we focus on educated or non-educated workers, men or women. The downward bias which affects OLS estimates suggests that workers who receive relatively high wage offers tend to change firms more rapidly: they tend to have relatively high wages and low job tenure. Regarding trends, our new IV estimator suggests that the returns to job tenure have declined over the 1990s in the industries where the share of educated workers is the largest. The technologies that complement highly skilled labour seem to drive a decline in the incentive to keep workers over long periods of time and, as a consequence, a decline in the impact of tenure on wages.

Suggested Citation

  • Givord, Pauline & Maurin, Eric, 2003. "Job Tenure, Wages and Technology: A Reassessment Using Matched Worker-Firm Panel Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 4147, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4147

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gibbons, Robert & Katz, Lawrence F, 1991. "Layoffs and Lemons," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(4), pages 351-380, October.
    2. Eric Maurin & David Thesmar, 2004. "Changes in the Functional Structure of Firms and the Demand for Skill," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 639-664, July.
    3. Joseph G. Altonji & Nicolas Williams, 2005. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority? A Reassessment," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(3), pages 370-397, April.
    4. David N. Margolis, 1996. "Cohort Effects and Returns to Seniority in France," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 41-42, pages 443-464.
    5. Abraham, Katharine G & Farber, Henry S, 1987. "Job Duration, Seniority, and Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 278-297, June.
    6. Moshe Buchinsky & Denis Fougère & Francis Kramarz & Rusty Tchernis, 2002. "Interfirm Mobility, Wages and the Returns to Seniority and Experience in the U.S," Working Papers 2002-29, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    7. Christian Dustmann & Costas Meghir, 2005. "Wages, Experience and Seniority," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 77-108.
    8. Kletzer, Lori Gladstein, 1989. "Returns to Seniority after Permanent Job Loss," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 536-543, June.
    9. Topel, Robert H, 1991. "Specific Capital, Mobility, and Wages: Wages Rise with Job Seniority," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 145-176, February.
    10. Farber, Henry S., 1999. "Mobility and stability: The dynamics of job change in labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 37, pages 2439-2483 Elsevier.
    11. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1279-1333.
    12. Dominique Goux & Éric Maurin, 1994. "Éducation, expérience et salaire," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 116(5), pages 155-178.
    13. Addison, John T & Portugal, Pedro, 1989. "Job Displacement, Relative Wage Changes, and Duration of Unemployment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(3), pages 281-302, July.
    14. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. World Bank, 2007. "Chile - County Gender Assessment : Expanding Women's Work Choices to Enhance Chile's Economic Potential," World Bank Other Operational Studies 7639, The World Bank.

    More about this item


    job tenure; technological change; wages;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4147. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.