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Are young and old workers harmful for firm productivity?

  • Thierry Lallemand
  • François Rycx

This paper investigates the effects of the workforce age structure on the productivity of large Belgian firms. More precisely, it examines different scenarios of changes in the proportion of young (16-29 years), middle-aged (30-49 years) and old (more than 49 years) workers and their expected effects on firm productivity. Using detailed matched employer-employee data, we find that a higher share of young (old) workers within firms is favourable (harmful) for firm value added per capita. Results also show that age structure effects on productivity are stronger in ICT than in non-ICT firms.

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Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series DULBEA Working Papers with number 09-02.RS.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by: ULB, DULBEA
Handle: RePEc:dul:wpaper:09-02rs
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  1. Grund, Christian & Westergård-Nielsen, Niels C., 2005. "Age Structure of the Workforce and Firm Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 1816, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Vegard Skirbekk, 2003. "Age and individual productivity: a literature survey," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2003-028, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  3. Judith Hellerstein & David Neumark, 2004. "Production Function and Wage Equation Estimation with Heterogenous Labor: Evidence from a New Matched Employer-Employee Dataset," Working Papers 04-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  4. Patrick Aubert & Bruno Crépon, 2003. "La productivité des salariés âgés : une tentative d'estimation," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 368(1), pages 95-119.
  5. G. Steven Olley & Ariel Pakes, 1992. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," NBER Working Papers 3977, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Thierry Lallemand & Robert Plasman & François Rycx, 2009. "Wage Structure and Firm Productivity in Belgium," NBER Chapters, in: The Structure of Wages: An International Comparison, pages 179-215 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Hellerstein, Judith K & Neumark, David & Troske, Kenneth R, 1999. "Wages, Productivity, and Worker Characteristics: Evidence from Plant-Level Production Functions and Wage Equations," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(3), pages 409-46, July.
  8. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2001. "The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," NBER Working Papers 8337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Julia I. Lane & John C. Haltiwanger & James Spletzer, 1999. "Productivity Differences across Employers: The Roles of Employer Size, Age, and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 94-98, May.
  10. François Rycx & Thierry Lallemand & Robert Plasman, 2004. "Intra-firm wage dispersion and firm performance: evidence from linked employer-employee data," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/781, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  11. Iranzo, Susana & Schivardi, Fabiano & Tosetti, Elisa, 2006. "Skill Dispersion and Firm Productivity: An Analysis with Employer-Employee Matched Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 5539, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Benoit Dostie, 2007. "Wages, Productivity and Aging," CIRANO Working Papers 2007s-02, CIRANO.
  13. Torbjørn Hægeland & Tor Jakob Klette, 1997. "Do Higher Wages Reflect Higher Productivity? Education, Gender and Experience Premiums in a Matched Plant-Worker Data Set," Discussion Papers 208, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  14. Malmberg, Bo & Lindh, Thomas & Halvarsson, Max, 2005. "Productivity consequences of workforce ageing - Stagnation or a Horndal effect?," Arbetsrapport 2005:17, Institute for Futures Studies.
  15. Ilmakunnas, Pekka & Maliranta, Mika, 2003. "Technology, Labor Characteristic and Wage-productivity Gaps," Discussion Papers 860, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  16. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2000. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  18. Johnson, William R, 1978. "A Theory of Job Shopping," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 261-78, May.
  19. Philip Taylor & Peter Urwin, 2001. "Age and Participation in Vocational Education and Training," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 15(4), pages 763-779, December.
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