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Estimating Wage-Fringe Trade-Offs: Some Data Problems

  • Robert S. Smith
  • Ronald G. Ehrenberg

Our paper attempts to identify the types of data nee3ed to estimate tradeoffs between wages and fringe benefits (such as pensions); it also explores the usefulness for this estimation of one particular employer- based data set collected by gay Associates. We stress three things: first, that employer-based data sets are required. Second, because pensions and many other fringe benefits are actuarial functions of wages or salaries, these technical relationships must be accounted for in estimation. Third, to take account of unobservable heterogeneity of employees across employers, one must use econometric methods that control for these unobservable variables. The paper concludes with a discussion of our attempts to estimate the tradeoff between wages and fringe benefits using a unique database for 200 establishments that contains information on wages and actuarial valuations of employer costs of fringe benefits at three different job levels.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w0827.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 0827.

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Date of creation: Dec 1981
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Publication status: published as Smith, Robert S. and Ronald Ehrenberg. "Estimating Wage-Fringe Trade-Offs: Some Data Problems." The Measurement of Labor Cost, edited by Jack E. Triplett. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, (1983).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0827
Note: LS
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  1. Roger H. Gordon & Alan S. Blinder, 1980. "Market Wages, Reservation Wages, and Retirement Decisions," NBER Working Papers 0513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Smith, Robert Stewart, 1981. "Compensating Differentials for Pensions and Underfunding in the Public Sector," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(3), pages 463-68, August.
  3. Lazear, Edward P, 1981. "Agency, Earnings Profiles, Productivity, and Hours Restrictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 606-20, September.
  4. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
  5. Ehrenberg, Ronald G. & Schwarz, Joshua L., 1987. "Public-sector labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1219-1260 Elsevier.
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