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High wage workers and low wage firms: Negative assortative matching or statistical artefact?

  • M. Andrews
  • L. Gill
  • R. Upward

In the empirical literature on the estimation of firm and worker heterogeneity using linked employer-employee data, unobserved worker quality appears to be negatively correlated with unobserved firm quality. We investigate the possibility that this is simply caused by standard estimation error and develop formulae that show that the estimated correlation is biased downwards if there is true positive assortative matching and when any conditioning covariates are uncorrelated with the firm and worker fixed effects. This result applies to any two-way (or higher) error-components model estimated by fixed-effects methods. We apply these bias corrections to a large German linked employer-employee dataset. We find that although the biases can be considerable, they are not sufficiently large to remove the negative correlation entirely.

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File URL: http://www.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/medialibrary/economics/discussionpapers/EDP-0615.pdf
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Paper provided by Economics, The University of Manchester in its series The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series with number 0615.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:man:sespap:0615
Contact details of provider: Postal: Manchester M13 9PL
Phone: (0)161 275 4868
Fax: (0)161 275 4812
Web page: http://www.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/subjects/economics/

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  1. Gruetter, Max & Lalive, Rafael, 2004. "The Importance of Firms in Wage Determination," IZA Discussion Papers 1367, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Bender, Stefan & Haas, Anette & Klose, Christoph, 2000. "IAB Employment Subsample 1975-1995 Opportunities for Analysis Provided by the Anonymised Subsample," IZA Discussion Papers 117, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1994. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," NBER Working Papers 4917, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. John M. Abowd (corresponding) & Francis Kramarz, 2004. "Are Good Workers Employed by Good Firms? A Simple Test of Positive Assortative Matching Models," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 385, Econometric Society.
  5. John M. Abowd & Robert H. Creecy & Francis Kramarz, 2002. "Computing Person and Firm Effects Using Linked Longitudinal Employer-Employee Data," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  6. Goux, Dominique & Maurin, Eric, 1999. "Persistence of Interindustry Wage Differentials: A Reexamination Using Matched Worker-Firm Panel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(3), pages 492-533, July.
  7. Alda, Holger & Bender, Stefan & Gartner, Hermann, 2005. "The linked employer-employee dataset of the IAB (LIAB)," IAB Discussion Paper 200506, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  8. Abowd, John M. & Kramarz, Francis, 1999. "The analysis of labor markets using matched employer-employee data," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 40, pages 2629-2710 Elsevier.
  9. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-93, March.
  10. Martyn Andrews & Thorsten Schank & Richard Upward, 2006. "Practical fixed-effects estimation methods for the three-way error-components model," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 6(4), pages 461-481, December.
  11. Upward, Richard & Schank, Thorsten & J. Andrews, Martyn, 2005. "Practical estimation methods for linked employer-employee data," Discussion Papers 29 [rev.], Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
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