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Wage Comparisons in and out of the Firm. Evidence from a Matched Employer-Employee French Database

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  • Olivier Godechot

    (IEP Paris - Sciences Po Paris - Institut d'études politiques de Paris, OSC - Observatoire sociologique du changement - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, MaxPo - Max Planck Sciences Po Center on Coping with Instability in Market Societies - IEP Paris - Sciences Po Paris - Institut d'études politiques de Paris - Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies)

  • Claudia Senik

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - 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, UP4 - Université Paris-Sorbonne)

Abstract

This paper looks at the association between wage satisfaction and different notions of reference wage, based on a matched employer-employee dataset. It shows that workers' satisfaction depends on otherpeople's income in different ways. Relative income concerns are important, but we also find robust evidence of signal effects. For instance, workers are happier the higher the median wage in their firm, holding their own wage constant. This is true of all employees, whatever their relative position in the firm. This signal effect is stronger for young people and for women. These findings are based on objective measures of earnings as well as subjective declarations about wage satisfaction, awareness of other people's wage and reported income comparisons.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier Godechot & Claudia Senik, 2013. "Wage Comparisons in and out of the Firm. Evidence from a Matched Employer-Employee French Database," PSE Working Papers halshs-00907268, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00907268
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00907268
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
    2. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
    3. Claudia Senik, 2008. "Ambition and Jealousy: Income Interactions in the 'Old' Europe versus the 'New' Europe and the United States," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(299), pages 495-513, August.
    4. AndrewE. Clark & Claudia Senik, 2010. "Who Compares to Whom? The Anatomy of Income Comparisons in Europe," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 573-594, May.
    5. Senik, Claudia, 2009. "Direct evidence on income comparisons and their welfare effects," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 408-424, October.
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    9. AndrewE. Clark & Nicolai Kristensen & Niels Westergård-Nielsen, 2009. "Job Satisfaction and Co-worker Wages: Status or Signal?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 430-447, March.
    10. Akay, Alpaslan & Martinsson, Peter, 2011. "Does relative income matter for the very poor? Evidence from rural Ethiopia," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(3), pages 213-215, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Piper, Alan T., 2015. "Sliding down the U-shape? A dynamic panel investigation of the age-well-being relationship, focusing on young adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 54-61.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Income comparisons; Income distribution; Job satisfaction; Wage satisfaction; Signal effect; Matched employer-employee survey data;

    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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