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Wage comparisons in and out of the firm

Author

Listed:
  • Olivier Godechot

    (Sciences Po - Sciences Po, OSC - Observatoire sociologique du changement (Sciences Po, CNRS) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Claudia Senik

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, UP4 - Université Paris-Sorbonne)

Abstract

This paper looks at the association between wage satisfaction and other people's pay, based on a matched employer–employee dataset. Three notions of reference wage appear to be being of particular importance: (i) the median wage level in one's firm, (ii) the level of wage of similar workers in the region, and (iii) the top 1% wage in one's firm. The first one triggers a signal effect, whereby all employees – especially young ones – whatever their relative position in the firm, are happier the higher the median wage in their firm, holding their own wage constant. The second and the third ones are sources of relative deprivation, i.e. workers' satisfaction decreases with the gap between their own salary and these reference categories. These findings are based on objective measures of earnings as well as subjective declarations about wage satisfaction, awareness of other people's pay and reported income comparisons.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier Godechot & Claudia Senik, 2015. "Wage comparisons in and out of the firm," Post-Print halshs-01314331, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-01314331
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2015.07.003
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://shs.hal.science/halshs-01314331
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Matched employer–employee survey data; Income comparisons; Distribution; Job satisfaction; Wage satisfaction; Signal effect; Matched employer; Employee survey data; Sociologie; Comparaison de revenus; Emploi;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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