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The Earnings Function: A Glimpse Inside the Black Box

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  • James L. Medoff

Abstract

This paper studies the wage determination process for a group of managerial employees in a major U.S. airline. As would be expected, those with greater-than-average schooling, pre-company labor market experience, and company service receive greater-than-average earnings. The analysis also addresses the question of whether or not the managers within a grade level who are paid more receive higher performance ratings by their supervisors. The answer is "no" in the case of those with more pre-company labor market experience (i.e., those who are older) and with more company service. This suggests that the salaries received by managers within a grade reflect their age and tenure with the company more than their present performance.

Suggested Citation

  • James L. Medoff, 1978. "The Earnings Function: A Glimpse Inside the Black Box," NBER Working Papers 0224, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0224
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    1. Griliches, Zvi & Mason, William M, 1972. "Education, Income, and Ability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(3), pages 74-103, Part II, .
    2. Johnson, George E & Stafford, Frank P, 1974. "Lifetime Earnings in a Professional Labor Market: Academic Economists," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(3), pages 549-569, May/June.
    3. Wise, David A, 1975. "Academic Achievement and Job Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 350-366, June.
    4. Lewis C. Solomon, 1975. "The Definition of College Quality and Its Impact on Earnings," NBER Chapters,in: Explorations in Economic Research, Volume 2, number 4, pages 537-587 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    6. Paul Wachtel, 1975. "The Effect of School Quality on Achievement, Attainment Levels, and Lifetime Earnings," NBER Chapters,in: Explorations in Economic Research, Volume 2, number 4, pages 502-536 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Taubman, Paul J & Wales, Terence J, 1973. "Higher Education, Mental Ability, and Screening," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(1), pages 28-55, Jan.-Feb..
    8. Zvi Griliches, 1970. "Notes on the Role of Education in Production Functions and Growth Accounting," NBER Chapters,in: Education, Income, and Human Capital, pages 71-127 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Summers, Anita A & Wolfe, Barbara L, 1977. "Do Schools Make a Difference?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 639-652, September.
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