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Individual Wage Setting, Efficiency Wages and Productivity in Sweden

Author

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  • Lundborg, Per

    (Trade Union Institute for Economic Research)

Abstract

Swedish wage setting has undergone drastic changes during the last 10-15 years. While Sweden was known for its narrow wage distribution, wage differentiation and wage bargaining at the individual level has become leading principles among white-collar workers’ unions. The purpose of the present paper is to analyse the consequences of this wage policy shift. Wage differences have increased drastically among white-collar workers while remained constant or even decreased among blue collar workers. We show that wage differentiation has had a strong effect on white collar workers’ average wage, and caused a major increase in the wage gap between the aggregates of whitecollar and blue-collar workers. We also show that increases in the coefficient of variation of wages raise productivity in firms with many workers in that worker category. Last and foremost, we show that the transition to individual wage setting raises the scope for firms to set efficiency wages and we find support for the fair wage version of efficiency wage setting. The effects of higher wage/fair wage rates were stronger in the late 1990s, when wage differentiation increased more, than in the early 2000s.

Suggested Citation

  • Lundborg, Per, 2005. "Individual Wage Setting, Efficiency Wages and Productivity in Sweden," Working Paper Series 205, Trade Union Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:fiefwp:0205
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    File URL: http://swopec.hhs.se/fiefwp/papers/WP205.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Leonard, Jonathan S, 1987. "Carrots and Sticks: Pay, Supervision, and Turnover," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(4), pages 136-152, October.
    2. Hibbs, Douglas A, Jr & Locking, Hakan, 2000. "Wage Dispersion and Productive Efficiency: Evidence for Sweden," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(4), pages 755-782, October.
    3. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173.
    4. Levine, David I, 1992. "Can Wage Increases Pay for Themselves? Tests with a Production Function," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(414), pages 1102-1115, September.
    5. George A. Akerlof & Andrew K. Rose & Janet L. Yellen, 1988. "Job Switching and Job Satisfaction in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(2), pages 495-594.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Davis, Steven J. & Henrekson, Magnus, 2006. "Economic Performance and Work Activity in Sweden affter the Crisis of the early 1990s," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 647, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 03 Aug 2007.
    2. Lundborg, Per, 2005. "Wage Fairness, Growth and the Utilization of R&D Workers," Working Paper Series 206, Trade Union Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Stenberg, Anders, 2007. "Does adult education at upper secondary level influence annual wage earnings?," Working Paper Series 2007:9, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    4. Martin Söderström, 2010. "Wage scales and centralized bargaining - a binding constraint on the wage-setting?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 247-250, February.
    5. Eliasson, Kent, 2006. "The Role of Ability in Estimating the Returns to College Choice: New Swedish Evidence," Umeå Economic Studies 691, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
    6. Peter Fredriksson & Robert H. Topel, 2010. "Wage Determination and Employment in Sweden Since the Early 1990s: Wage Formation in a New Setting," NBER Chapters,in: Reforming the Welfare State: Recovery and Beyond in Sweden, pages 83-126 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Eliasson, Kent, 2006. "College Choice And Earnings Among University Graduates In Sweden," Umeå Economic Studies 693, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
    8. Steven J. Davis & Magnus Henrekson, 2010. "Economic Performance and Market Work Activity in Sweden After the Crisis of the Early 1990s," NBER Chapters,in: Reforming the Welfare State: Recovery and Beyond in Sweden, pages 225-252 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Eliasson, Kent, 2006. "How Robust is the Evidence on the Returns to College Choice? Results Using Swedish Administrative Data," Umeå Economic Studies 692, Umeå University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Efficiency wages; productivity; wage differentials;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

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