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Efficiency Wages and the Wage Structure

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  • Alan B. Krueger
  • Lawrence H. Summers

Abstract

This paper examines differences in pay for equally skilled workers in different industries. The major finding is that there is substantial dispersion in wages across industries, even after allowing for measured and unmeasured labor quality, working conditions, fringe benefits, transitory demand shocks, threat of unionization, union bargaining power, firm size and other factors. Some direct evidence in favor of efficiency wage theories is presented. The evidence suggests that industry wage differentials are successful in eliciting better performance through reduced turnover and increased effort.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan B. Krueger & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Efficiency Wages and the Wage Structure," NBER Working Papers 1952, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1952 Note: LS EFG
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w1952.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Calvo, Guillermo A & Wellisz, Stanislaw, 1978. "Supervision, Loss of Control, and the Optimum Size of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 943-952, October.
    2. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1978. "Trade Unions in the Production Process," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 355-378, June.
    3. Freeman, Richard B, 1984. "Longitudinal Analyses of the Effects of Trade Unions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 1-26, January.
    4. Bulow, Jeremy I & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "A Theory of Dual Labor Markets with Application to Industrial Policy,Discrimination, and Keynesian Unemployment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages 376-414, July.
    5. Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Efficiency Wage Theories: A Partial Evaluation," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1986, Volume 1, pages 235-290 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Mellow, Wesley & Sider, Hal, 1983. "Accuracy of Response in Labor Market Surveys: Evidence and Implications," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(4), pages 331-344, October.
    7. Cain, Glen G, 1976. "The Challenge of Segmented Labor Market Theories to Orthodox Theory: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 1215-1257, December.
    8. Robert E. Hall, 1975. "The Rigidity of Wages and the Persistence of Unemployment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 6(2), pages 301-350.
    9. William T. Dickens & Kevin Lang, 1985. "Testing Dual Labor Market Theory: A Reconsideration of the Evidence," NBER Working Papers 1670, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Charles Brown, 1980. "Equalizing Differences in the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(1), pages 113-134.
    11. Robert S. Smith, 1979. "Compensating Wage Differentials and Public Policy: A Review," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 32(3), pages 339-352, April.
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