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Piece Work Pay and Hourly Pay over the Cycle

  • Hart, Robert A.

    ()

    (University of Stirling)

This paper investigates the relative cyclical behavior of the pay of piece workers and hourly paid workers. It uses a unique data set of blue-collar workers in British engineering between 1926 and 1966. The statistics are obtained from the payrolls of firms belonging to the Engineering Employers Federation (EEF). Roughly, the EEF accounted for one-third of the total engineering workforce. The data consist of cell averages delineated by 15 occupations in 29 engineering districts. Via a firm-union bargaining modelling structure, the question is examined as to likely earnings responses to price shocks under the two payment systems. The empirical work entails testing for cyclical differences in the two payments methods Insights are gained from distinguishing between the relatively tight post-war and slack pre-war labor markets.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2210.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Labour Economics, 2008, 15(5), 1006-1022
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2210
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  1. Devereux, Paul J. & Hart, Robert A., 2005. "Real Wage Cyclicality of Job Stayers, Within-Company Job Movers, and Between-Company Job Movers," IZA Discussion Papers 1651, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Seiler, Eric, 1984. "Piece Rate vs. Time Rate: The Effect of Incentives on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(3), pages 363-76, August.
  3. Lazear, Edward P, 1986. "Salaries and Piece Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 405-31, July.
  4. Charles Brown, 1990. "Firms' choice of method of pay," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(3), pages 165-182, February.
  5. Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1992. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias," NBER Working Papers 4202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-45, March.
  7. Donggyun Shin & Gary Solon, 2006. "New Evidence on Real Wage Cyclicality within Employer-Employee Matches," NBER Working Papers 12262, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Hart,Robert A. & Moutos,Thomas, 1995. "Human Capital, Employment and Bargaining," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521453264.
  9. Hart, Robert A., 2003. "Worker-Job Matches, Job Mobility, and Real Wage Cyclicality," IZA Discussion Papers 881, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Salop, Steven C, 1979. "A Model of the Natural Rate of Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 117-25, March.
  11. Ben S. Bernanke, 1985. "Employment, Hours, and Earnings in the Depression: An Analysis of EightManufacturing Industries," NBER Working Papers 1642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Paul J. Devereux, 2001. "The Cyclicality of Real Wages within Employer-Employee Matches," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(4), pages 835-850, July.
  13. Robert A. Hart, 2005. "General human capital and employment adjustment in the Great Depression: apprentices and journeymen in UK engineering," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(1), pages 169-189, January.
  14. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
  15. Katharine G. Abraham & John C. Haltiwanger, 1995. "Real Wages and the Business Cycle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(3), pages 1215-1264, September.
  16. Shin, Donggyun, 1994. "Cyclicality of real wages among young men," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 137-142, October.
  17. Lutz Bellmann & Uwe Blien, 2001. "Wage curve analyses of establishment data from western Germany," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(4), pages 851-863, July.
  18. Fama, Eugene F, 1991. "Time, Salary, and Incentive Payoffs in Labor Contracts," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 25-44, January.
  19. Bils, Mark J, 1985. "Real Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 666-89, August.
  20. Ben S. Bernanke & James Powell, 1986. "The Cyclical Behavior of Industrial Labor Markets: A Comparison of the Prewar and Postwar Eras," NBER Chapters, in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 583-638 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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