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The rise and fall of piecework-timework wage differentials: market volatility, labor heterogeneity, and output pricing

  • Hart, Robert A
  • Roberts, J Elizabeth

Based on detailed payroll data of blue collar male and female labor in Britain's engineering and metal working industrial sectors between the mid-1920s and mid-1960s, we provide empirical evidence in respect of several central themes in the piecework-timework wage literature. The period covers part of the heyday of pieceworking as well as the start of its post-war decline. We show the importance of relative piece rate flexibility during the Great Depression as well as during the build up to WWII and during the war itself. We account for the very significant decline in the differentials after the war. Labor market topics include piecework pay in respect of compensating differentials, labor heterogeneity, and the transaction costs of pricing piecework output.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/17575
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Paper provided by University of Stirling, Division of Economics in its series Stirling Economics Discussion Papers with number 2013-12.

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Date of creation: Nov 2013
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Handle: RePEc:stl:stledp:2013-12
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Division of Economics, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA

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  1. Hart, Robert A., 2007. "Women doing men's work and women doing women's work: Female work and pay in British wartime engineering," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 114-130, January.
  2. repec:sae:ilrrev:v:43:y:1990:i:3:p:165-182 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1989. "Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 447-80, March.
  4. Susan Helper & Morris M. Kleiner & Yingchun Wang, 2010. "Analyzing Compensation Methods in Manufacturing: Piece Rates, Time Rates, or Gain-Sharing?," NBER Working Papers 16540, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Fama, Eugene F, 1991. "Time, Salary, and Incentive Payoffs in Labor Contracts," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 25-44, January.
  6. Lazear, Edward P, 1986. "Salaries and Piece Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 405-31, July.
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