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Match Effects

We present an empirical model of earnings that controls for observable and unobservable characteristics of workers (person effects), unmeasured characteristics of their employers (firm effects), and unmeasured characteristics of worker-firm matches (match effects). The distinction between these components is important, because they have different implications for the persistence of individual earnings and the returns to employment mobility. We find that match effects, which have been ignored in previous work, are an important determinant of log earnings. They explain about 16 percent of observed variation, and much of the change in earnings when workers change employer. Specifications that omit match effects over-estimate the returns to experience by as much as 30 percent, attribute too much variation to person effects and little to firm effects, and underestimate the correlation between person and firm effects. Overall, our results suggest that some of the returns previously attributed to general human capital actually reflect the returns to sorting into higher-paying firms and better worker-firm matches.

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File URL: http://www.sfu.ca/econ-research/RePEc/sfu/sfudps/dp07-13.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University in its series Discussion Papers with number dp07-13.

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Length: 35
Date of creation: Aug 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sfu:sfudps:dp07-13
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Web page: http://www.sfu.ca/economics.html

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  1. Abowd, J.M. & Kramarz, F. & Margolis, D.N., 1995. "High-Wage Workers and High-Wage Firms," Cahiers de recherche 9503, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  2. Ann P. Bartel & George J. Borjas, 1978. "Wage Growth and Job Turnover: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 0285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Andrews, Martyn J. & Schank, Thorsten & Upward, Richard, 2004. "Practical estimation methods for linked employer-employee data," Discussion Papers 29, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  4. Benoit Dostie, 2004. "Job Turnover and the Returns to Seniority," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 127, Econometric Society.
  5. Gruetter, Max & Lalive, Rafael, 2009. "The importance of firms in wage determination," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 149-160, April.
  6. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  7. Hausman, Jerry A. & Taylor, William E., 1981. "Panel data and unobservable individual effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 155-155, May.
  8. John M. Abowd & Paul A. Lengermann & Kevin L. McKinney, 2002. "The Measurement of Human Capital in the U.S. Economy," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-09, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised Mar 2003.
  9. John M. Abowd & Bryce E. Stephens & Lars Vilhuber & Fredrik Andersson & Kevin L. McKinney & Marc Roemer & Simon Woodcock, 2002. "The LEHD Infrastructure Files and the Creation of the Quarterly Workforce Indicators," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  10. Joseph G. Altonji & Robert A. Shakotko, 1985. "Do Wages Rise With Job Seniority?," NBER Working Papers 1616, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1988. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," NBER Working Papers 2649, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Woodcock Simon D, 2010. "Heterogeneity and Learning in Labor Markets," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-69, September.
  13. Jacob Mincer & Boyan Jovanovic, 1979. "Labor Mobility and Wages," NBER Working Papers 0357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. John M. Abowd (corresponding) & Francis Kramarz, 2004. "Are Good Workers Employed by Good Firms? A Simple Test of Positive Assortative Matching Models," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 385, Econometric Society.
  15. John M. Abowd & Robert H. Creecy & Francis Kramarz, 2002. "Computing Person and Firm Effects Using Linked Longitudinal Employer-Employee Data," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  16. M. Andrews & L. Gill & R. Upward, 2006. "High wage workers and low wage firms: Negative assortative matching or statistical artefact?," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 0615, Economics, The University of Manchester.
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