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Heterogeneity matters: labour productivity differentiated by age and skills


  • Muriel Roger

    () (PSE - Paris School of Economics, INSEE-D3E - Département des études économiques d'ensemble - INSEE, LEA - Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquée - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique)

  • Malgorzata Wasmer

    (Department of Economics - University of Fribourg - University of Fribourg, GATE - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)


This study aims at evaluating the actual profile of marginal productivity across the age groups within the workforce. As age-productivity profile might differ between occupations, we differentiate the workforce simultaneously by skills (low-skilled, high-skilled) and by age (young, middle-aged, old). Estimating a production function with a nested constant-elasticity-of-substitution (CES) specification in labour allows the imperfect substitution between different categories of workers. We use French dataset for manufacturing, services and trade sectors. Labour productivity is found to be the lowest for the low-skilled older workers while high-skilled senior employees in manufacturing and trade are the most productive group. Throughout the sectors, wage rates vary considerably less than productivity and wage profiles are steeper for high-skilled workers. The relative productivity over wage ratio is found to be sector-specific. It is the highest for young workers in manufacturing while in services and trade it is the highest for the mid-age employees.

Suggested Citation

  • Muriel Roger & Malgorzata Wasmer, 2009. "Heterogeneity matters: labour productivity differentiated by age and skills," Working Papers halshs-00575086, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00575086
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Giuliano, Paola & Ruiz-Arranz, Marta, 2009. "Remittances, financial development, and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 144-152, September.
    2. Das Gupta, Monica, 1987. "Informal Security Mechanisms and Population Retention in Rural India," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 101-120, October.
    3. Rapoport, Hillel & Docquier, Frederic, 2006. "The Economics of Migrants' Remittances," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
    4. Lucas, Robert E B & Stark, Oded, 1985. "Motivations to Remit: Evidence from Botswana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 901-918, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jisung Park & Seongsu Kim, 2015. "The differentiating effects of workforce aging on exploitative and exploratory innovation: The moderating role of workforce diversity," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 481-503, June.
    2. Maciej Lis, 2017. "Productivity based selection to retirement: Evidence from EU-SILC," IBS Working Papers 02/2017, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.
    3. Francisco Benita, 2014. "A Cohort Analysis of the College Premium in Mexico," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 51(1), pages 147-178, May.


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