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Wage Structure and Firm Productivity in Belgium

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  • Thierry Lallemand
  • Robert Plasman
  • Francois Rycx

Abstract

The objective of this paper is twofold. First, we analyse the structure of wages within and between Belgian firms. Next, we examine how the productivity of these firms is influenced by their internal wage dispersion. To do so, we use a large matched employer-employee data set (i.e., a combination of the 1995 'Structure of Earnings' and 'Structure of Business' Surveys). On the basis of the methodology developed by Winter-Ebmer and Zweimuller (1999), we find that within-firm wage dispersion has a positive and significant effect on firm productivity. This result is robust to controls for individual and firm characteristics as well as to instrumenting the wage inequality variable. Findings also suggest that the intensity of this effect is stronger within firms with: i) a majority of blue-collar workers, and ii) a high degree of monitoring. These results are more in line with the 'tournament' models than with the 'fairness, morale and cohesiveness' models.

Suggested Citation

  • Thierry Lallemand & Robert Plasman & Francois Rycx, 2007. "Wage Structure and Firm Productivity in Belgium," NBER Working Papers 12978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12978
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rudolf Winter‐Ebmer & Josef Zweimüller, 1999. "Intra‐firm Wage Dispersion and Firm Performance," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 555-572, November.
    2. Eriksson, Tor, 1999. "Executive Compensation and Tournament Theory: Empirical Tests on Danish Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 262-280, April.
    3. Garen, John E, 1985. "Worker Heterogeneity, Job Screening, and Firm Size," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 715-739, August.
    4. Thierry Lallemand & Robert Plasman & François Rycx, 2004. "Intra‐Firm Wage Dispersion and Firm Performance: Evidence from Linked Employer‐Employee Data," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(4), pages 533-558, November.
    5. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Efficiency of Equity in Organizational Decision Processes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 154-159, May.
    6. Carlo Dell’Aringa & Laura Pagani, 2007. "Collective Bargaining and Wage Dispersion in Europe," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 45(1), pages 29-54, March.
    7. Gibbons, Robert & Waldman, Michael, 1999. "Careers in organizations: Theory and evidence," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 36, pages 2373-2437, Elsevier.
    8. Mellow, Wesley, 1982. "Employer Size and Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(3), pages 495-501, August.
    9. Rodriguez-Gutierrez, Cesar, 2001. "Wage dispersion within firms and collective bargaining in Spain," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 381-386, September.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts

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