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The productivity-wage premium: does size still matter in a service economy?

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  • Berlingieri, Giuseppe
  • Calligaris, Sara
  • Criscuolo, Chiara

Abstract

Ever since Moore (1911) a large empirical and theoretical literature has established the existence of a firm size-wage premium. At the same time, a second regularity in empirical work, linking size and productivity, has inspired a vast literature in multiple fields. However, the majority of the existing evidence is based on manufacturing data only. With manufacturing nowadays accounting for a very small share of the economy in many countries, whether productivity, size, and wages are closely linked, and how tight this link is across sectors, is still an open question. Using a unique dataset that collects micro-aggregated firm-level information on productivity, size, and wages for the entire economy in 17 countries over the 1994-2012 period, this paper unveils a much more subtle picture. First, while in the manufacturing sector both productivity and wages increase monotonically with firm size, the same is not true in the service sector. Second, a tight and positive link between wages and productivity is instead found in both manufacturing and services. The combination of these results suggests that, when looking at data for a much larger share of the economy, the "size-wage premium" becomes more a "productivity-wage premium". Unbundling the relationship between size, wages, and productivity has first-order policy implications for both workers and firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Berlingieri, Giuseppe & Calligaris, Sara & Criscuolo, Chiara, 2018. "The productivity-wage premium: does size still matter in a service economy?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 91678, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:91678
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    Cited by:

    1. Aleksandra Kordalska & Magdalena Olczyk, 2020. "What fosters firm-level labour productivity in Eastern European and Central Asian countries?," Bank i Kredyt, Narodowy Bank Polski, vol. 51(1), pages 91-120.
    2. Nickel, Christiane & Bobeica, Elena & Koester, Gerrit & Lis, Eliza & Porqueddu, Mario, 2019. "Understanding low wage growth in the euro area and European countries," Occasional Paper Series 232, European Central Bank.
    3. Criscuolo, Chiara & Andrews, Dan & Gal, Peter N., 2019. "The best versus the rest: divergence across firms during the global productivity slowdown," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 103405, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Matej Bajgar & Giuseppe Berlingieri & Sara Calligaris & Chiara Criscuolo & Jonathan Timmis, 2019. "Industry concentration in Europe and North America," CEP Discussion Papers dp1654, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    5. Timothy DESTEFANO & HANEDA Sho & KWON Hyeog Ug, 2019. "Determinants of Structural Adjustment and Employment Use in Japan: Firm Characteristics, Offshoring and Industrial Robotics," Discussion papers 19067, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    6. Charly Porcher & Hannah Rubinton & Clara Santamaría, 2020. "The Role of Establishment Size in the City-Size Earnings Premium in Spain," Working Papers 2020-029, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    productivity; size-premium; wages;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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