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The Dispersion of Employees’ Wage Increases and Firm Performance

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  • Grund, Christian

    () (RWTH Aachen University)

  • Westergård-Nielsen, Niels C.

    () (Copenhagen Business School)

Abstract

In this contribution we examine the interrelation between intra-firm wage increases and firm performance. Previous studies have focused on the dispersion of wages in order to examine for the empirical dominance of positive monetary incentives effects compared to adverse effects due to fairness considerations. We argue that the dispersion of wage increases rather than wage levels is a crucial measure for monetary incentives in firms. The larger the dispersion of wage increases the higher the amount of monetary incentives in firms. In contrast, huge wage inequality without any promotion possibilities does not induce any monetary incentives. Evidence from unique Danish linked employer employee data shows that large dispersion of wage growth within firms is generally connected with low firm performance. The results are mainly driven by white collar rather than blue collar workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Grund, Christian & Westergård-Nielsen, Niels C., 2004. "The Dispersion of Employees’ Wage Increases and Firm Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 1402, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1402
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    Cited by:

    1. Simon Gächter & Daniele Nosenzo & Martin Sefton, 2012. "The Impact of Social Comparisons on Reciprocity," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(4), pages 1346-1367, December.
    2. Kampelmann, Stephan & Rycx, François, 2012. "The impact of educational mismatch on firm productivity: Evidence from linked panel data," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 918-931.
    3. Gabriel Burdin, 2012. "Does workers’ control affect firm survival? Evidence from Uruguay," Department of Economics University of Siena 641, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    4. Jeongil Seo & Daniel L. Gamache & Cynthia E. Devers & Mason A. Carpenter, 2015. "The role of CEO relative standing in acquisition behavior and CEO pay," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(12), pages 1877-1894, December.
    5. Gächter, Simon & Thöni, Christian, 2010. "Social comparison and performance: Experimental evidence on the fair wage-effort hypothesis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 531-543, December.
    6. R Simmons & D J Berri, 2010. "Mixing the princes and the paupers: Pay and performance in the National Basketball Association," Working Papers 611523, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    7. Gianni De Fraja & Giovanni Facchini & John Gathergood, 2016. "How Much Is That Star in the Window? Professorial Salaries and Research Performance in UK Universities," Discussion Papers 2016-13, University of Nottingham, GEP.
    8. repec:lan:wpaper:3659 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Christian Grund & Maike Rubin, 2017. "Social comparisons of wage increases and job satisfaction," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(14), pages 1345-1350, March.
    10. Benoît Mahy & François Rycx & Mélanie Volral, 2011. "Does Wage Dispersion Make All Firms Productive?," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 58(4), pages 455-489, September.
    11. Kampkötter, Patrick & Sliwka, Dirk, 2011. "Differentiation and Performance: An Empirical Investigation on the Incentive Effects of Bonus Plans," IZA Discussion Papers 6070, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Simmons, Rob & Berri, David J., 2011. "Mixing the princes and the paupers: Pay and performance in the National Basketball Association," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 381-388, June.
    13. repec:lan:wpaper:3944 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Egon Franck & Stephan Nüesch, 2007. "Wage Dispersion and Team Performance - An Empirical Panel Analysis," Working Papers 0073, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
    15. Nils Braakmann, 2008. "Intra-firm wage inequality and firm performance – First evidence from German linked employer-employee-data," Working Paper Series in Economics 77, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
    16. repec:lan:wpaper:3551 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Martin, Pardupa, 2007. "Cooperation or rivalry? Employee’s effort and appropriate knowledge distribution as key elements for maximizing the profit of the firm," MPRA Paper 26428, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    wage dispersion; firm performance; inequality; monetary incentives; wage increases; fairness;

    JEL classification:

    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance

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