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Promotion Determinants in Corporate Hierarchies: An Examination of Fast Tracks and Functional Area

Author

Listed:
  • Belzil, Christian

    () (Ecole Polytechnique, Paris)

  • Bognanno, Michael L.

    () (Temple University)

  • Poinas, François

    () (Toulouse School of Economics)

Abstract

This article estimates a dynamic reduced-form model of intra-firm promotions using an employer-employee panel of over 300 of the largest corporations in the U.S. in the period from 1981 to 1988. The estimation conditions on unobserved individual heterogeneity and allows for both an endogenous initial condition and sample attrition linked to individual heterogeneity in demonstrating the relative importance of variables that influence promotion. The role of the executive's functional area in promotion is considered along with the existence and source of promotion fast tracks. We find that while the principal determinant of promotions is unobserved individual heterogeneity, functional area has a high explanatory power, resulting in promotion probabilities that differ by functional area for executives at the same reporting level and firm. No evidence is found that an executive's recent speed of advancement in pay grade has a causal impact on in- sample promotions after conditioning on the executive's career speed of advancement. For high-level executives, fast tracks appear to result from heterogeneity in persistent individual characteristics, not from an inherent benefit in recent advancement itself.

Suggested Citation

  • Belzil, Christian & Bognanno, Michael L. & Poinas, François, 2012. "Promotion Determinants in Corporate Hierarchies: An Examination of Fast Tracks and Functional Area," IZA Discussion Papers 6948, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6948
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2005. "Simple solutions to the initial conditions problem in dynamic, nonlinear panel data models with unobserved heterogeneity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(1), pages 39-54.
    2. Michael Bognanno & Eduardo Melero, 2012. "Promotion Signals, Age and Education," DETU Working Papers 1205, Department of Economics, Temple University.
    3. Michael Waldman, 1984. "Job Assignments, Signalling, and Efficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 255-267, Summer.
    4. Jed DeVaro & Michael Waldman, 2012. "The Signaling Role of Promotions: Further Theory and Empirical Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 91-147.
    5. Seltzer, Andrew & Merrett, David T, 2000. "Personnel Policies at the Union Bank of Australia: Evidence from the 1888-1900 Entry Cohorts," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(4), pages 573-613, October.
    6. Treble, John & van Gameren, Edwin & Bridges, Sarah & Barmby, Tim, 2001. "The internal economics of the firm: further evidence from personnel data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(5), pages 531-552, December.
    7. Robert Gibbons & Michael Waldman, 1999. "A Theory of Wage and Promotion Dynamics Inside Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1321-1358.
    8. George Baker & Michael Gibbs & Bengt Holmstrom, 1994. "The Internal Economics of the Firm: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 881-919.
    9. Michael Gibbs & Wallace Hendricks, 2004. "Do Formal Salary Systems Really Matter?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(1), pages 71-93, October.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    functional area; fast track; promotion; dynamic discrete choice;

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions

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