IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Turbulent Firms, Turbulent Wages?

  • Diego Comin
  • Erica L. Groshen
  • Bess Rabin

Has greater turbulence among firms fueled rising wage instability in the U.S.? Gottschalk and Moffitt ([1994]) find that rising earnings instability was responsible for one third to one half of the rise in wage inequality during the 1980s. These growing transitory fluctuations remain largely unexplained. To help fill this gap, this paper further documents the recent rise in transitory fluctuations in compensation and investigates its linkage to the concurrent rise in volatility of firm performance documented by Comin and Mulani [2005] among others. After examining models that explain the relationship between firm and wage volatility, we investigate the linkage in three complementary panel data sets, each with its own virtues and limitations: the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (detailed information on workers, but no information on employers), COMPUSTAT (detailed firm information, but only average wage and employment levels about workers), and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland's Community Salary Survey (wages and employment for specific occupations for identified firms). We find complementary support for the hypothesis in all three data sets. We can rule out straightforward compositional churning as an explanation for the link to firm performance in high-frequency (over spans of 5 years) wage volatility, although not in more persistent fluctuations (between successive 5-year averages). We conclude that the rise in firm turbulence explains about sixty percent of the recent the rise in the high frequency (5-year) volatility of wages.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w12032.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12032.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Feb 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Comin, Diego, Erica Groshen and Bess Rabin. "Turbulent firms, turbulent wages?" Journal of Monetary Economics, vol. 56(1), pages 109-133, January 2009.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12032
Note: EFG LS
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Richard Freeman, 2008. "Labor Market Institutions Around the World," CEP Discussion Papers dp0844, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2007. "Volatility and Dispersion in Business Growth Rates: Publicly Traded versus Privately Held Firms," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 107-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Gueorgui Kambourov & Iourii Manovskii, 2009. "Occupational Mobility and Wage Inequality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(2), pages 731-759.
  4. Abowd, J.M. & Kramarz, F. & Margolis, D.N. & Troske, K.R., 1998. "The Relative Importance of Employer and Employeee Effects on Compensation: a Comparison of France and the United States," Papiers du Laboratoire de Microéconomie Appliquée 1998-10, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  5. Comin, D. & Mulani, S., 2003. "Diverging Trends in Macro and Micro Volatility: Facts," Working Papers 03-08, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  6. Gueorgui Kambourov & Iourii Manovskii, 2000. "Occupational Mobility and Wage Inequality, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 04-026, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 15 Jun 2004.
  7. Diego Comin & Sunil Mulani, 2007. "A theory of growth and volatility at the aggregate and firm level," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  8. Robert A. Moffitt & Peter Gottschalk, 2002. "Trends in the Transitory Variance of Earnings in the United States," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C68-C73, March.
  9. Joanne Salop & Steve Salop, 1976. "Self-selection and turnover in the labor market," Special Studies Papers 80, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. Diego A. Comin & Thomas Philippon, 2006. "The Rise in Firm-Level Volatility: Causes and Consequences," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2005, Volume 20, pages 167-228 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-00353821 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Currie, Janet & McConnell, Sheena, 1992. "Firm-Specific Determinants of the Real Wage," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 297-304, May.
  13. Michael Kremer & Eric Maskin, 1996. "Wage Inequality and Segregation," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1777, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  14. Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1994. "Monetary Policy, Business Cycles, and the Behavior of Small Manufacturing Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 309-40, May.
  15. Giovanni L. Violante, 2002. "Technological Acceleration, Skill Transferability, And The Rise In Residual Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 297-338, February.
  16. David I. Levine & Dale Belman & Gary Charness & Erica L. Groshen & K.C. O'Shaughnessy, 2002. "How New is the "New Employment Contract"? Evidence from North American Pay Practices," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number nec, June.
  17. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-81, September.
  18. Bengt Holmstrom, 1982. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 324-340, Autumn.
  19. Abowd, John M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1993. "The Effects of Product Market Competition on Collective Bargaining Agreements: The Case of Foreign Competition in Canada," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(4), pages 983-1014, November.
  20. Groshen, Erica L, 1991. "Sources of Intra-industry Wage Dispersion: How Much Do Employers Matter?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 869-84, August.
  21. Diego Comin & Sunil Mulani, 2006. "Diverging Trends in Aggregate and Firm Volatility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 374-383, May.
  22. Salop, Joanne & Salop, Steven, 1976. "Self-Selection and Turnover in the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 619-27, November.
  23. Michael Kremer & Eric Maskin, 1996. "Wage Inequality and Segregation by Skill," NBER Working Papers 5718, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1994. "The Growth of Earnings Instability in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 217-272.
  25. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2005. "Rising Wage Inequality: The Role of Composition and Prices," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2096, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  26. Erica Groshen, 1996. "American employer salary surveys and labor economics research: issues and contributions," Research Paper 9604, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  27. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  28. Erica L. Groshen, 1988. "Why do wages vary among employers?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q I, pages 19-38.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12032. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.