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Performance, Seniority and Wages: Formal Salary Systems and Individual Earnings Profiles

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  • Dohmen, Thomas

    (University of Bonn and IZA)

Abstract

This paper replicates studies by Medoff and Abraham (1980, 1981) and Flabbi and Ichino (2001) using personnel data from the Dutch national aircraft manufacturer Fokker. It shows how a formal salary system, as is widely used by large firms, brings about that seniority-wage profiles are largely independent of controls for reported performance in cross-sectional wage regressions even though supervisors' evaluations shape life-cycle earnings profiles. Performance ratings determine how fast a worker climbs the firm's career and wage ladder. The paper also reveals that real wage growth depends on the employer's prosperity. Furthermore it demonstrates that formal salary systems cause serial correlation in wage growth and 'Green Card' effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Dohmen, Thomas, 2003. "Performance, Seniority and Wages: Formal Salary Systems and Individual Earnings Profiles," IZA Discussion Papers 935, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp935
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    2. John G. Sessions & John D. Skåtun, 2017. "Performance-Related Pay, Efficiency Wages and the Shape of the Tenure-Earnings Profile," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 85(3), pages 295-319, June.
    3. Lex Borghans & Ben Kriechel, 2009. "Wage Structure and Labor Mobility in The Netherlands, 1999-2003," NBER Chapters, in: The Structure of Wages: An International Comparison, pages 125-148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Anders Frederiksen & Lisa B. Kahn & Fabian Lange, 2020. "Supervisors and Performance Management Systems," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(6), pages 2123-2187.
    5. Thomas Dohmen & Hartmut F. Lehmann & Mark E. Schaffer, 2014. "Wage Policies of a Russian Firm and the Financial Crisis of 1998: Evidence from Personnel Data, 1997 to 2002," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 67(2), pages 504-531, April.
    6. Peter Cappelli & Martin J. Conyon, 2018. "What Do Performance Appraisals Do?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 71(1), pages 88-116, January.
    7. Frederiksen, Anders & Lange, Fabian & Kriechel, Ben, 2017. "Subjective performance evaluations and employee careers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 408-429.
    8. Serneels, Pieter, 2008. "Human capital revisited: The role of experience and education when controlling for performance and cognitive skills," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 1143-1161, December.
    9. Bayer Thomas & Page John & Raviv Yaron & Rosett Joshua, 2013. "Age, Human Capital, and the Quality of Work: New Evidence from Old Masters," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 13(2), pages 687-708, July.
    10. Catherine Haeck & Frank Verboven, 2012. "The Internal Economics of a University: Evidence from Personnel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(3), pages 591-626.
    11. Christian Grund & Tanja Hofmann, 2019. "The dispersion of bonus payments within and between firms," Journal of Business Economics, Springer, vol. 89(4), pages 417-445, June.
    12. Guido Friebel & Elena Panova, 2008. "Insider Privatization and Careers: A Study of a Russian Firm in Transition," NBER Chapters, in: The Analysis of Firms and Employees: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches, pages 253-266, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Bas Klaauw & António Dias da Silva, 2011. "Wage dynamics and promotions inside and between firms," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(4), pages 1513-1548, October.
    14. John S. Heywood & Uwe Jirjahn, 2016. "The hiring and employment of older workers in Germany: a comparative perspective [Die Beschäftigung und Neueinstellung älterer Arbeitnehmer in Deutschland: Eine vergleichende Perspektive]," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 49(4), pages 349-366, December.
    15. Beartice Brunner & Andreas Kuhn, 2009. "To Shape the Future: How Labor Market Entry Conditions Affect Individuals’s Long-Run Wage Profiles," NRN working papers 2009-29, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    16. Grund, Christian & Walter, Tanja, 2013. "Management Compensation and the Economic Crisis: Longitudinal Evidence from the German Chemical Sector," IZA Discussion Papers 7435, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Christian Pfeifer, 2009. "Adjustment of Deferred Compensation Schemes, Fairness Concerns, and Hiring of Older Workers," Working Paper Series in Economics 151, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
    18. Brunner, Beatrice & Kuhn, Andreas, 2009. "To Shape the Future: How Labor Market Entry Conditions Affect Individuals' Long-Run Wage Profiles," IZA Discussion Papers 4601, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Scott J. Adams & John S. Heywood, 2007. "The Age of Hiring and Deferred Compensation: Evidence from Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 83(261), pages 174-190, June.
    20. Heywood, John S. & Siebert, W. Stanley, 2009. "Understanding the Labour Market for Older Workers: A Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 4033, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    21. Daniel Vuuren, 2014. "Flexible Retirement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(3), pages 573-593, July.
    22. Beatrice Brunner & Andreas Kuhn, 2009. "To shape the future: How labor market entry conditions affect individuals' long-run wage profiles," IEW - Working Papers 457, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    23. Inge Sieben & Andries De Grip & Jessica Longen & Ole Sørensen, 2009. "Technology, Selection, and Training in Call Centers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 62(4), pages 553-572, July.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    personnel economics; internal labor markets; returns to seniority; formal salary systems;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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