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Why Do Firms Pay an Overtime Premium?

Author

Listed:
  • Hart, Robert A.

    () (University of Stirling)

  • Ma, Yue

    () (City University of Hong Kong)

Abstract

This paper develops a two-period specific human capital model in which the bargaining parties seek to achieve optimal wage-hours contracts in the face of asymmetrically held information. With a single wage rate, we show that the problem of inefficient separations is so severe that, effectively, no specific training would take place. A wage premium on weekly overtime hours serves to reduce the effects of asymmetric information although it does not completely eliminate inefficiency. For those weekly hours for which a premium is paid, worker compensation exceeds the value of marginal product. There is an optimal automatic compensatory differential rule represented by an inverse relationship between the contractual wage and the overtime premium. Implications of imposing mandatory rules for premium pay and hours of work, as practiced in the United States, are assessed. The model is found to offer insights into important earlier finding in the literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Hart, Robert A. & Ma, Yue, 2000. "Why Do Firms Pay an Overtime Premium?," IZA Discussion Papers 163, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp163
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Masanori Hashimoto & Ben T. Yu, 1980. "Specific Capital, Employmemt Contracts, and Wage Rigidity," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 11(2), pages 536-549, Autumn.
    2. Lazear, Edward P, 1981. "Agency, Earnings Profiles, Productivity, and Hours Restrictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 606-620, September.
    3. Hashimoto, Masanori, 1979. "Bonus Payments, on-the-Job Training, and Lifetime Employment in Japan," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 1086-1104, October.
    4. Trejo, Stephen J, 1991. "The Effects of Overtime Pay Regulation on Worker Compensation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 719-740, September.
    5. Malcomson, James M., 1999. "Individual employment contracts," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 35, pages 2291-2372 Elsevier.
    6. Bell, David N F & Hart, Robert A, 1999. "Unpaid Work," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(262), pages 271-290, May.
    7. Lorne Carmichael, 1983. "Firm-Specific Human Capital and Promotion Ladders," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(1), pages 251-258, Spring.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Hart Robert A. & Ma Yue, 2008. "Wages, Hours and Human Capital Over the Life Cycle," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 228(5-6), pages 446-464, October.
    2. Andersson, Frederik & Konrad, Kai A., 2001. "Globalization and human capital formation
      [Globalisierung und Humankapitalinvestitionen]
      ," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance FS IV 01-01, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    3. Koch, Susanne, 2001. "Arbeitszeit und Beschäftigung im gesamtwirtschaftlichen Zusammenhang : Arbeitszeitfragen und ihre Behandlung in ökonomischen Modellen: Literaturüberblick und Forschungsperspektiven (Working time and e," Mitteilungen aus der Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany], vol. 34(1), pages 28-44.
    4. Petri Böckerman, 2002. "Overtime in Finland," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 36-54, Spring.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    asymmetric information; specific human capital; overtime premium; mandatory overtime rules;

    JEL classification:

    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods

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