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Wage Structure and Firm Productivity in Belgium

  • Thierry Lallemand
  • Robert Plasman
  • Francois Rycx

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.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12978.

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Date of creation: Mar 2007
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Publication status: published as Lazear, Edward P. and Kathryn L. Shaw (eds.) The Structure of Wages: An International Comparison, A National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12978
Note: LS
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  1. 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.
  2. Mellow, Wesley, 1982. "Employer Size and Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(3), pages 495-501, August.
  3. Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf & Zweimüller, Josef, 1997. "Intra-firm Wage Dispersion and Firm Performance," CEPR Discussion Papers 1621, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. 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 262-80, April.
  5. Garen, John E, 1985. "Worker Heterogeneity, Job Screening, and Firm Size," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 715-39, August.
  6. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Efficiency of Equity in Organizational Decision Processes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 154-59, May.
  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. 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, 03.
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