IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Firm size and human capital as determinants of productivity and earnings

  • Francis Teal
  • MÃ¥ns Söderbom
Registered author(s):

    The evidence that earnings rise with firm size and that human capital affects earnings based on labour market data are two of the most robust empirical findings in economics. In contrast the evidence for scale economies in firm data is very weak. The limited direct evidence of human capital on firm productivity suggests that human capital is indeed productive and that the magnitudes are consistent with the findings based on individual data. The common objection to accepting the role of size and human capital as determinants of either earnings or productivity has been the role of unobserved factors. In this paper we investigate the roles of size and human capital in determining both earnings and productivity using a panel data set of matched labour firm data which allows us to control for such factors. We argue that neither the unobservable quality of labour, nor the unobservable characteristics of the workplace, is the source of the relationship between firm size and earnings, and that this effect can have a rent-sharing interpretation. For our data human capital is of minor importance in explaining either the distribution of earnings or productivity across firms of differing size.

    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:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPS/2001-09.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 01 May 2001
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wps/2001-09
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Manor Rd. Building, Oxford, OX1 3UQ

    Web page:

    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. Velenchik, A.D., 1995. "Government Intervention, Efficiency Wages, and the Employer-Size Wage Effects in Zimbabwe," Papers 95-09, Wellesley College - Department of Economics.
    2. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
    3. Stephen Nickell, 1993. "Competition and Corporate Performance," CEP Discussion Papers dp0182, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    4. R. Glenn Hubbard, 1998. "Capital-Market Imperfections and Investment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 193-225, March.
    5. Steve Bond & Clive Bowsher & Frank Windmeijer, 2001. "Criterion-based inference for GMM in autoregressive panel-data models," IFS Working Papers W01/02, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    6. John Van Reenen, 1996. "The Creation and Capture of Rents: Wages and Innovation in a Panel of U. K. Companies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 195-226.
    7. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald, 1994. "Are apparent productive spillovers a figment of specification error?," International Finance Discussion Papers 463, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
    9. Richard Blundell & Steve Bond, 1999. "GMM estimation with persistent panel data: an application to production functions," IFS Working Papers W99/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    10. Jones, Patricia, 2001. "Are educated workers really more productive?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 57-79, February.
    11. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
    12. Frank Windmeijer, 2000. "A finite sample correction for the variance of linear two-step GMM estimators," IFS Working Papers W00/19, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    13. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
    14. James R. Tybout, 2000. "Manufacturing Firms in Developing Countries: How Well Do They Do, and Why?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 11-44, March.
    15. Wadhwani, S. & Wall, M., 1988. "A Direct Test Of The Efficiency Wage Model Using Uk Micro- Data," Papers 313, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
    16. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1989. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1027-59, October.
    17. Pack, Howard, 1982. "Aggregate implications of factor substitution in industrial processes," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 1-37, August.
    18. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald & Peter Sanfey, 1996. "Wages, Profits, and Rent-Sharing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 227-251.
    19. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
    20. Francis Teal, 1995. "The size and sources of economic rents in a developing country manufacturing labour market," CSAE Working Paper Series 1995-06, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    21. Tybout, James R., 1992. "Making noisy data sing : Estimating production technologies in developing countries," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1-3), pages 25-44.
    22. Daniel M.G. Raff & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Did Henry Ford Pay Efficiency Wages?," NBER Working Papers 2101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Moll, Peter G., 1993. "Industry wage differentials and efficiency wages : A dissenting view with South African evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 213-246, August.
    24. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    25. Steve Bond & Frank Windmeijer, 2002. "Finite sample inference for GMM estimators in linear panel data models," CeMMAP working papers CWP04/02, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    26. Zvi Griliches & Jerry A. Hausman, 1984. "Errors in Variables in Panel Data," NBER Technical Working Papers 0037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    27. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-93, March.
    28. Mazumdar, Dipak, 1976. "The Rural-Urban Wage Gap, Migration, and the Shadow Wage," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(3), pages 406-25, November.
    29. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    30. Weiss, Andrew W, 1980. "Job Queues and Layoffs in Labor Markets with Flexible Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 526-38, June.
    31. Levine, David I, 1992. "Can Wage Increases Pay for Themselves? Tests with a Production Function," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(414), pages 1102-15, September.
    32. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
    33. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
    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:oxf:wpaper:wps/2001-09. 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: (Monica Birds)

    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.