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The Returns to Seniority in France (and Why are They Lower than in the United States?)

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  • Beffy, Magali
  • Buchinsky, Mosche
  • Fougère, Denis
  • Kamionka, Thierry
  • Kramarz, Francis

Abstract

We estimate a model of the joint participation and mobility along with the individuals' wage formation in France. Our model makes it possible to distinguish between unobserved person heterogeneity and state-dependence. We estimate the model using state of the art Bayesian methods employing a long panel (1976-1995) for France. Our results clearly show that returns to seniority are small, and for some education groups are close to zero. The specification here is the same as that used in Buchinsky, Fougère, Kramarz and Tchernis (2002) for the case of the United States, where the returns to seniority were found to be quite large. This result also holds when using the method employed by Altonji and Williams (1992) for both countries. It turns out that differences between the two countries relate to firm-to-firm mobility. Using a model of Burdett and Coles (2003), we explain the rationale for this phenomenon. Specifically, in a low-mobility country such as France, there is little gain in compensating workers for long tenures because they tend to stay in the firm for most, if not all, of their career. This is true even in cases where individuals clearly possess substantial amount of firm-specific human capital. In contrast, for a high-mobility country such as the United States, high returns to seniority have a clear incentive effect, and firms are induced to pay the premium associated with firm-specific human capital to avoid losing their most productive workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Beffy, Magali & Buchinsky, Mosche & Fougère, Denis & Kamionka, Thierry & Kramarz, Francis, 2006. "The Returns to Seniority in France (and Why are They Lower than in the United States?)," CEPR Discussion Papers 5486, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5486
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    Cited by:

    1. Olivier Bargain & Karina Doorley, 2009. "Caught in the trap? The disincentive effect of social assistance," Working Papers 200906, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    2. Hospido, Laura, 2015. "Wage dynamics in the presence of unobserved individual and job heterogeneity," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 81-93.
    3. Thierry Kamionka & Cyriaque Edon, 2007. "Modélisation dynamique de la participation au marché du travail des femmes en couple," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 86, pages 77-108.
    4. Giovanni Sulis, 2014. "Wage Returns to Experience and Tenure for Young Men in Italy," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 61(5), pages 559-588, November.
    5. Denis Fougère, 2011. "Social and Labor Market Integration of Ethnic Minorities in France: Has the French Integration Model Broken Down?," Chapters, in: Martin Kahanec & Klaus F. Zimmermann (ed.), Ethnic Diversity in European Labor Markets, chapter 5, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Shintaro Yamaguchi, 2010. "Job Search, Bargaining, and Wage Dynamics," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 595-631, July.
    7. Olivier Goudet & Gérard Ballot & Jean-Daniel Kant, 2015. "How to choose a contract type in the French Labor Market : an agent-based model," Post-Print hal-01512938, HAL.
    8. Bargain, Olivier & Doorley, Karina, 2013. "Putting Structure on the RD Design: Social Transfers and Youth Inactivity in France," IZA Discussion Papers 7508, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Ioana Marinescu & Margaret Triyana, 2016. "The sources of wage growth in a developing country," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-43, December.
    10. Fabian Berges & Stéphane Caprice, 2008. "Is competition or collusion in the product market relevant for labour market?," Post-Print hal-02655208, HAL.
    11. Sabrina Di Addario & Eleonora Patacchini, 2006. "Is there an urban wage premium in Italy?," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 570, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    12. Cahuc, Pierre & Malherbet, Franck & Prat, Julien, 2019. "The Detrimental Effect of Job Protection on Employment: Evidence from France," IZA Discussion Papers 12384, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Sabrina Di Addario & Eleonora Patacchini & University of Rome La Sapienza, 2005. "Wages and the City. The Italian case," Economics Series Working Papers 243, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    individual effects; job mobility; participation; returns to experience; returns to seniority; wage;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs

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