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Rent-Sharing, Hold-up, and Wages: Evidence from Matched Panel Data

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Listed:
  • Card, David

    () (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Devicienti, Francesco

    () (University of Turin)

  • Maida, Agata

    () (University of Milan)

Abstract

It is widely believed that rent-sharing reduces the incentives for investment when long term contracts are infeasible because some of the returns to sunk capital are captured by workers. We propose a simple test for the degree of hold-up based on the fraction of capital costs that are deducted from the quasi-rent that determines negotiated wages. We implement the test using a data set that combines Social Security earnings records for workers in the Veneto region of Italy with detailed financial information for employers. We find strong evidence of rent-sharing, with an elasticity of wages with respect to current profitability of the firm of 3-7%, arising mainly from firms in concentrated industries. On the other hand we find little evidence that bargaining lowers the return on investment. Instead, firm-level bargaining appears to split the rents after deducting the full cost of capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Card, David & Devicienti, Francesco & Maida, Agata, 2011. "Rent-Sharing, Hold-up, and Wages: Evidence from Matched Panel Data," IZA Discussion Papers 6086, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6086
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    Keywords

    rent-sharing; hold-up; employer-employee data;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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