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Wage-Hours Contracts, Overtime Working and Premium Pay

  • Hart, Robert A
  • Ma, Yue

This paper offers a contract-based theory to explain the determination of standard hours, overtime hours and overtime premium pay. We expand on the wage contract literature that emphasises the role of firm-specific human capital and that explores problems of contract efficiency in the face of information asymmetries between the firm and the worker. We first explore a simple wage-hours contract without overtime and show that incorporating hours into the contract may itself produce efficiency gains. We then show how the introduction of overtime hours, remunerated at premium rates, can further improve contract efficiency. Our modelling outcomes in respect of the relationship between the overtime premium and the standard wage rate relate closely to earlier developments in hedonic wage theory. Throughout, we emphasise the intuitive reasoning behind the theory and we also supply relevant empirical evidence. Mathematical derivations are provided in an appendix.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/501
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Paper provided by University of Stirling, Division of Economics in its series Stirling Economics Discussion Papers with number 2008-04.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:stl:stledp:2008-04
Contact details of provider: Postal: Division of Economics, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA
Phone: +44 (0)1786 467473
Fax: +44 (0)1786 467469
Web page: http://www.econ.stir.ac.uk/

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  1. Robert E. Hall & Edward P. Lazear, 1982. "The Excess Sensitivity of Layoffs and Quits to Demand," NBER Working Papers 0864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lazear, Edward P, 1981. "Agency, Earnings Profiles, Productivity, and Hours Restrictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 606-20, September.
  3. Trejo, Stephen J, 1993. "Overtime Pay, Overtime Hours, and Labor Unions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(2), pages 253-78, April.
  4. Lorne Carmichael, 1981. "Firm-Specific Human Capital and Promotion Ladders," Working Papers 452, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  5. Trejo, Stephen J, 1991. "The Effects of Overtime Pay Regulation on Worker Compensation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 719-40, September.
  6. Masanori Hashimoto & Ben T. Yu, 1980. "Specific Capital, Employmemt Contracts, and Wage Rigidity," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 11(2), pages 536-549, Autumn.
  7. Kinoshita, Tomio, 1987. "Working Hours and Hedonic Wages in the Market Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1262-77, December.
  8. Malcomson, J., 1998. "Individual employment contracts," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9804, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  9. David N. F. Bell & Robert A. Hart, 2003. "Wages, hours, and overtime premia: Evidence from the British labor market," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(3), pages 470-480, April.
  10. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521801423 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Hashimoto, Masanori, 1981. "Firm-Specific Human Capital as a Shared Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 475-82, June.
  12. Hutchens, Robert M, 1989. "Seniority, Wages and Productivity: A Turbulent Decade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 49-64, Fall.
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