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Endogenous Choice of Firm Size and the Sturcture of Wages: A Comparison of Canada and the United States


  • Stephanie Lluis



This paper compares the Canadian and U.S. wage structures by firm size. The objective is to test for the possibility of different returns to education and experience as well as examine the role played by unmeasured skills in driving the allocation of workers across firms of different sizes. Those effects may arise if large and small firms have different working environments in which the various dimensions of workers' skills (measured and unmeasured) may not be identically productive. The analysis is performed separately for the samples of unionized and non- unionized workers in order to isolate any effects of unions on the size- wage structure. The results show evidence of non-random selection of workers into firms of different sizes for both countries in both sectors. In the non-unionized sector, the selection is found to be strongly negative in large firms in both countries and positive in smaller (strongly for the U.S.). This result implies that workers in large firms are of lower quality in terms of unmeasured aspects of skills and equivalently that large firms do not seem to reward unmeasured skills, and the contrary for small firms. In Canada, although unions are associated with the compressed wage- educational differentials relative to non-unionized employers, the wage- educational differentials are more pronounced in smaller unionized employers. Moreover, similar selection patterns as those in the non- unionized sector are found.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephanie Lluis, "undated". "Endogenous Choice of Firm Size and the Sturcture of Wages: A Comparison of Canada and the United States," Working Papers 0203, Human Resources and Labor Studies, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus).
  • Handle: RePEc:hrr:papers:0203

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Oi, Walter Y. & Idson, Todd L., 1999. "Firm size and wages," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 33, pages 2165-2214 Elsevier.
    2. Sattinger, Michael, 1993. "Assignment Models of the Distribution of Earnings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 831-880, June.
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    5. Robert Gibbons & Lawrence Katz, 1992. "Does Unmeasured Ability Explain Inter-Industry Wage Differentials?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(3), pages 515-535.
    6. Garen, John E, 1985. "Worker Heterogeneity, Job Screening, and Firm Size," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 715-739, August.
    7. Lemieux, Thomas, 1998. "Estimating the Effects of Unions on Wage Inequality in a Panel Data Model with Comparative Advantage and Nonrandom Selection," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(2), pages 261-291, April.
    8. Rene Morissette, 1993. "Canadian Jobs and Firm Size: Do Smaller Firms Pay Less?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(1), pages 159-174, February.
    9. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-293, March.
    10. Idson, Todd L & Feaster, Daniel J, 1990. "A Selectivity Model of Employer-Size Wage Differentials," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages 99-122, January.
    11. William T. Dickens & Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Interindustry Wage Differences and Industry Characteristics," NBER Working Papers 2014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. A. D. Roy, 1951. "Some Thoughts On The Distribution Of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 135-146.
    13. Felice Martinello & Ronald Meng, 1992. "Effects of Labor Legislation and Industry Characteristics on Union Coverage in Canada," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 176-190, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yu, Li & Hurley, Terrance M. & Kliebenstein, James B. & Orazem, Peter F., 2012. "Firm Size, Technical Change, and Wages in the Pork Sector, 1990-2005," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 37(2), August.
    2. Gilles Margirier, 2007. "Taille des entreprises et salaires," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 180(4), pages 39-58.
    3. Yu, Li, 2008. "Three essays on technology adoption, firm size, wages and human capital," ISU General Staff Papers 2008010108000016715, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.

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