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Are Older Workers Worthy of Their Pay? An Empirical Investigation of Age-Productivity and Age-Wage Nexuses


  • Cardoso, Ana Rute

    () (IAE Barcelona (CSIC))

  • Guimaraes, Paulo

    () (Banco de Portugal)

  • Varejão, José

    () (University of Porto)


Using longitudinal employer-employee data spanning over a 22-year period, we compare age-wage and age-productivity profiles and find that productivity increases until the age range of 50-54, whereas wages peak around the age 40-44. At younger ages, wages increase in line with productivity gains but as prime-age approaches, wage increases lag behind productivity gains. As a result, older workers are, in fact, worthy of their pay, in the sense that their contribution to firm-level productivity exceeds their contribution to the wage bill. On the methodological side, we note that failure to account for the endogenous nature of the regressors in the estimation of the wage and productivity equations biases the results towards a pattern consistent with underpayment followed by overpayment type of policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Cardoso, Ana Rute & Guimaraes, Paulo & Varejão, José, 2010. "Are Older Workers Worthy of Their Pay? An Empirical Investigation of Age-Productivity and Age-Wage Nexuses," IZA Discussion Papers 5121, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5121

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Benoit Dostie, 2011. "Wages, Productivity and Aging," De Economist, Springer, vol. 159(2), pages 139-158, June.
    2. Göbel, Christian & Zwick, Thomas, 2009. "Age and productivity: evidence from linked employer employee data," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-020, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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    More about this item


    aging; productivity; wages;

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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