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Industry wage differentials, unobserved ability, and rent-sharing: evidence from matched employer-employee, 1992-2005

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  • Robert Plasman
  • François Rycx
  • Ilan Tojerow

Abstract

This paper investigates inter-industry wage differentials in Belgium, taking advantage of access to a unique matched employer-employee data set covering the period 1995-2002. Findings show the existence of large and persistent wage differentials among workers with the same observed characteristics and working conditions, employed in different sectors. The hypothesis that workers with better unmeasured abilities are over-represented in high-wage sectors may not be rejected on the basis of Martins’ (2004) methodology. However, the contribution of this explanation to the observed industry wage differentials appears to be limited. Further results show that ceteris paribus, workers earn significantly higher wages when employed in more profitable firms. Our instrumented wage-profit elasticity stands at 0.063 and Lester’s range of pay is about 41 per cent of the mean wage. This rent-sharing phenomenon accounts for a large fraction of the industry wage differentials. We find indeed that the magnitude, dispersion and significance of industry wage differentials decreases sharply when controlling for profits.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Plasman & François Rycx & Ilan Tojerow, 2006. "Industry wage differentials, unobserved ability, and rent-sharing: evidence from matched employer-employee, 1992-2005," DULBEA Working Papers 06-14.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:dul:wpaper:06-14rs
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    Cited by:

    1. Philip Du Caju & François Rycx & Ilan Tojerow, 2011. "Inter‐Industry Wage Differentials: How Much Does Rent Sharing Matter?," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 79(4), pages 691-717, July.
    2. Magda, Iga & Rycx, Francois & Tojerow, Ilan & Valsamis, Daphné, 2008. "Wage Differentials across Sectors in Europe: An East-West Comparison," IZA Discussion Papers 3830, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Evangelia Papapetrou & Pinelopi Tsalaporta, 2016. "Inter-industry wage differentials in Greece: rent-sharing and unobserved heterogeneity hypotheses," Working Papers 213, Bank of Greece.
    4. Dorota Witkowska, 2013. "Gender Disparities in the Labor Market in the EU," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 19(4), pages 331-354, November.
    5. Robert Plasman & François Rycx & Ilan Tojerow, 2007. "Wage differentials in Belgium: the role of worker and employer characteristics," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 50(1), pages 11-40.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Collective bargaining; wage structure.;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation

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