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Rent-Sharing or Incentives? Estimating the Residual Claim of Average Employees

  • Bruce A. Rayton

    (University of Bath School of Management)

The rent-sharing literature and the agency literature both predict a link between pay and performance. The rent-sharing literature relies on short-term market power to explain this link, and the agency literature bases its prediction on the importance of incentives in principal-agent relationships. Annual data from an unbalanced panel of U.S. manufacturing firms indicate that the performance-elasticity of average employee pay is approximately 0.127271 in small firms while it not significantly different from zero in large firms. The relative lack of incentive pay in the group of large firms demonstrates that the link between pay and performance evident in U.S. manufacturing firms is inconsistent with the exclusive truth of the rent-sharing hypothesis.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Labor and Demography with number 9603002.

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Date of creation: 25 Mar 1996
Date of revision: 09 Sep 1996
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:9603002
Note: This paper was published in Applied Economics Letters, 1997, 4, 725-728. (December)
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  1. Christofides, Louis N & Oswald, Andrew J, 1992. "Real Wage Determination and Rent-Sharing in Collective Bargaining Agreements," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 985-1002, August.
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  8. Douglas L. Kruse, 1993. "Profit Sharing: Does It Make a Difference?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number ps, June.
  9. Bruce A. Rayton, 1994. "Are CEOs the Only Residual Claimants? Estimation of the Performance Elasticity of Per-Employee Compensation," Industrial Organization 9412001, EconWPA, revised 16 Jun 1995.
  10. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-64, October.
  11. Abowd, John M, 1989. "The Effect of Wage Bargains on the Stock Market Value of the Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 774-800, September.
  12. Andrew K.G. Hildreth and Andrew J. Oswald, . "Rent-Sharing and Wages: Evidence from Company and Establishment Panels," Economics Discussion Papers 425, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  13. Baker, George & Gibbs, Michael & Holmstrom, Bengt, 1994. "The Internal Economics of the Firm: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 881-919, November.
  14. Garen, John E, 1994. "Executive Compensation and Principal-Agent Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1175-99, December.
  15. Jensen, Michael C & Murphy, Kevin J, 1990. "Performance Pay and Top-Management Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 225-64, April.
  16. Bronars, Stephen G & Deere, Donald R, 1991. "The Threat of Unionization, the Use of Debt, and the Preservation of Shareholder Wealth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 231-54, February.
  17. Cable, John & Wilson, Nicholas, 1989. "Profit-Sharing and Productivity: An Analysis of UK Engineering Firms," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(396), pages 366-75, June.
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