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Do Firm Effects Drift? Evidence from Washington Administrative Data

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  • Marta Lachowska
  • Alexandre Mas
  • Raffaele D. Saggio
  • Stephen A. Woodbury

Abstract

We study the time-series properties of firm effects in the two-way fixed effects models popularized by Abowd, Kramarz, and Margolis (1999) (AKM) using two approaches. The first—the rolling AKM approach (R-AKM)—estimates AKM models separately for successive two-year intervals. The second—the time-varying AKM approach (TV-AKM)—is an extension of the original AKM model that allows for unrestricted interactions of year and firm indicators. We apply to both approaches the leave-one-out methodology of Kline, Saggio and Sølvsten (2019) to correct for biases in the resulting variance components. Using administrative wage records from Washington State, we find, first, that firm effects for hourly wage rates and earnings are highly persistent. Specifically, the autocorrelation coefficient between firm effects in 2002 and 2014 is 0.74 for wages and 0.82 for earnings. Second, the R-AKM approach uncovers cyclicality in firm effects and worker-firm sorting. During the Great Recession the variability in firm effects increased, while the degree of worker-firm sorting decreased. Third, we document an increase in wage dispersion between 2002–2003 and 2013–2014. This increase in wage dispersion is driven by increases in the variance of worker effects and sorting, with an accompanying decrease in the variance of firm wage effects. Auxiliary analyses suggest that the misspecification of standard AKM models resulting from restricting firm effects to be fixed over time is a second-order concern.

Suggested Citation

  • Marta Lachowska & Alexandre Mas & Raffaele D. Saggio & Stephen A. Woodbury, 2020. "Do Firm Effects Drift? Evidence from Washington Administrative Data," NBER Working Papers 26653, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26653
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. Engbom, Niklas & Moser, Christian, 2020. "Firm Pay Dynamics," MPRA Paper 98477, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Peter Ganong & Damon Jones & Pascal J. Noel & Fiona E. Greig & Diana Farrell & Chris Wheat, 2020. "Wealth, Race, and Consumption Smoothing of Typical Income Shocks," NBER Working Papers 27552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Patrick Kline & Raffaele Saggio & Mikkel Sølvsten, 2020. "Leave‐Out Estimation of Variance Components," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(5), pages 1859-1898, September.
    5. Moser, Christian & Saidi, Farzad & Wirth, Benjamin & Wolter, Stefanie, 2020. "Credit Supply, Firms, and Earnings Inequality," MPRA Paper 100371, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Stanislav Anatolyev & Mikkel S{o}lvsten, 2020. "Testing Many Restrictions Under Heteroskedasticity," Papers 2003.07320, arXiv.org, revised Jan 2021.
    7. Stéphane Bonhomme & Kerstin Holzheu & Thibaut Lamadon & Elena Manresa & Magne Mogstad & Bradley Setzler, 2020. "How Much Should we Trust Estimates of Firm Effects and Worker Sorting?," Working Papers 2020-77, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    8. Federico Huneeus & Conrad Miller & Christopher Neilson & Seth Zimmerman, 2021. "Firm Sorting, College Major, and the Gender Earnings Gap," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 917, Central Bank of Chile.
    9. Ihsaan Bassier & Arindrajit Dube & Suresh Naidu, 2020. "Monopsony in Movers: The Elasticity of Labor Supply to Firm Wage Policies," NBER Working Papers 27755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Marta Lachowska & Alexandre Mas & Stephen A. Woodbury, 2020. "Sources of Displaced Workers' Long-Term Earnings Losses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 110(10), pages 3231-3266, October.

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    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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