IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper

Wages Equal Productivity. Fact or Fiction?

  • Johannes Van Biesebroeck

If labor markets operated entirely frictionless, productivity premiums associated with different worker characteristics would equal the wage premiums earned by workers possessing those characteristics. Using matched employer-employee data from the manufacturing sector of three sub-Saharan countries, we evaluate to what extent the two premiums differ for four characteristics that are clearly related to human capital: schooling, training, experience, and tenure. Equality holds strongly and even surprisingly well for firms in Zimbabwe (the most developed country in the sample), but not at all in Tanzania (the least developed country), while results in Kenya are intermediate. Where equality fails, the pattern is for general human capital characteristics (schooling, experience) to receive a wage return that exceeds the productivity return, while the reverse applies to more firm-specific human capital characteristics (training, tenure). Schooling tends to be over-rewarded, even though large productivity gains are consistently associated with formal employee training programs. Wages tend to rise with experience, while productivity gains are mostly associated with tenure. We demonstrate the remarkable robustness of the findings controlling, among other things, for sampling errors, nonlinear effects, and non-wage benefits. Localized labor markets and imperfect substitutability of different worker-types provide a partial explanations for the estimated gap between the wage and productivity premiums.

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: https://www.economics.utoronto.ca/public/workingPapers/tecipa-294.pdf
File Function: Main Text
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-294.

as
in new window

Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 29 Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-294
Contact details of provider: Postal:
150 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario

Phone: (416) 978-5283

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. Joseph G. Altonji & Nicolas Williams, 2005. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority? A Reassessment," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(3), pages 370-397, April.
  2. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00353892, HAL.
  3. Gibbons, Robert & Waldman, Michael, 1999. "Careers in organizations: Theory and evidence," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 36, pages 2373-2437 Elsevier.
  4. Fafchamps, Marcel, 1997. "Introduction: Markets in sub-saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 733-734, May.
  5. Arne Bigsten & Paul Collier & Stefan Dercon & Marcel Fafchamps & Bernard Gauthier & Jan Willem Gunning & Anders Isaksson & Abena Oduro & Remco Oostendorp & Catherine Pattillo & Måns Söderbom & Francis, 1998. "Rates of return on physical and human capital in Africa's manufacturing sector," CSAE Working Paper Series 1998-12, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  6. Nina Pavcnik, 2002. "Trade Liberalization, Exit, and Productivity Improvements: Evidence from Chilean Plants," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 245-276.
  7. Lorraine Dearden & Howard Reed & John Van Reenen, 2005. "The impact of training on productivity and wages : evidence from British panel data," Economic History Working Papers 779, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  8. Muendler, Marc-Andreas, 2007. "Labor Reallocation in Response to Trade Reform," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt3cm38535, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  9. Hellerstein, Judith K & Neumark, David, 1999. "Sex, Wages, and Productivity: An Empirical Analysis of Israeli Firm-Level Data," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(1), pages 95-123, February.
  10. Marcela Eslava & John Haltiwanger & Adriana Kugler & Maurice Kugler, 2004. "The Effects of Structural Reforms on Productivity and Profitability Enhancing Reallocation: Evidence from Colombia," Working Papers 134, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  11. Schultz, T.P., 2000. "Health and Schooling Investments in Africa," Papers 549, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  12. Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2007. "Wages Equal Productivity. Fact or Fiction?," Working Papers tecipa-294, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  13. Simon Appleton & John Hoddinott & John MacKinnon, 1996. "Education and health in sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(3), pages 307-339.
  14. Reardon, Thomas, 1997. "Using evidence of household income diversification to inform study of the rural nonfarm labor market in Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 735-747, May.
  15. Knight, J B & Sabot, R H, 1987. "Educational Policy and Labour Productivity: An Output Accounting Exercise," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(385), pages 199-214, March.
  16. Schultz, T. Paul, 1988. "Education investments and returns," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 13, pages 543-630 Elsevier.
  17. Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2007. "Wage and Productivity Premiums in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers tecipa-291, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  18. Van Biesebroeck, Johannes, 2005. "Firm Size Matters: Growth and Productivity Growth in African Manufacturing," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(3), pages 545-83, April.
  19. Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark, 2007. "Production Function and Wage Equation Estimation with Heterogeneous Labor: Evidence from a New Matched Employer-Employee Data Set," NBER Chapters, in: Hard-to-Measure Goods and Services: Essays in Honor of Zvi Griliches, pages 31-71 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Van Biesebroeck, Johannes, 2005. "Exporting raises productivity in sub-Saharan African manufacturing firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 373-391, December.
  21. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1.
  22. Hellerstein, Judith K & Neumark, David & Troske, Kenneth R, 1999. "Wages, Productivity, and Worker Characteristics: Evidence from Plant-Level Production Functions and Wage Equations," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(3), pages 409-46, July.
  23. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Mortensen, Dale T. & Pissarides, Christopher A., 1999. "New developments in models of search in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 39, pages 2567-2627 Elsevier.
  25. Brown, James N, 1989. "Why Do Wages Increase with Tenure? On-the-Job Training and Life-Cycle Wage Growth Observed within Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 971-91, December.
  26. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter Klenow, 2009. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," Working Papers 09-04, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  27. Benjamin, Dwayne, 1995. "Can unobserved land quality explain the inverse productivity relationship?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 51-84, February.
  28. Jones, Patricia, 2001. "Are educated workers really more productive?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 57-79, February.
  29. Jong-Il Kim & Lawrence J. Lau, 1996. "The sources of Asian Pacific economic growth," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(s1), pages 448-54, April.
  30. Torbjørn Hægeland & Tor Jakob Klette, 1997. "Do Higher Wages Reflect Higher Productivity? Education, Gender and Experience Premiums in a Matched Plant-Worker Data Set," Discussion Papers 208, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  31. Stefan Bender & Julia Lane & Kathryn Shaw & Fredrik Andersson & Till von Wachter, 2008. "The Analysis of Firms and Employees: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bend08-1.
  32. Fox, Jeremy T. & Smeets, Valérie, 2007. "Do Input Quality and Structural Productivity Estimates Drive Measured Differences in Firm Productivity?," Working Papers 07-2, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  33. M. J. Andrews & L. Gill & T. Schank & R. Upward, 2008. "High wage workers and low wage firms: negative assortative matching or limited mobility bias?," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 171(3), pages 673-697.
  34. Bruno Crépon & Nicolas Deniau & Sébastien Perez-Duarte, 2003. "Productivité et salaire des travailleurs âgés," Revue Française d'Économie, Programme National Persée, vol. 18(1), pages 157-185.
  35. Velenchik, Ann D., 1997. "Market power, firm performance and real wage growth in Zimbabwean manufacturing," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 749-762, May.
  36. D. W. Jorgenson & Z. Griliches, 1967. "The Explanation of Productivity Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(3), pages 249-283.
  37. Topel, Robert H, 1991. "Specific Capital, Mobility, and Wages: Wages Rise with Job Seniority," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 145-76, February.
  38. Erica L. Groshen, 1991. "The Structure of the Female/Male Wage Differential: Is It Who You Are, What You Do, or Where You Work?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(3), pages 457-472.
  39. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2009. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1403-1448.
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:tor:tecipa:tecipa-294. 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: (RePEc Maintainer)

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.