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Why Pay Seniority Wages?

  • Zwick, Thomas

This paper characterises establishments that pay higher seniority wages than their competitors. It tests whether seniority wages are paid on the basis of agency, human capital or efficiency wage considerations. A representative linked employeremployee panel and an innovative two-step estimation strategy are used to first calculate individual seniority wages taking into account that match quality biases tenure effects on wages. Then individual seniority wages are aggregated to the establishment level. Finally, the seniority wage indicator is explained by establishment characteristics. This contribution shows that large, profitable and establishments with a highly qualified workforce pay high seniority wages. Also collective bargaining coverage and works councils have a positive impact and the share of foreigners, training intensity and initial wage levels have a negative correlation with seniority wages. The results support an agency based motivation for seniority wages.

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File URL: http://econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/27624/1/dp09005.pdf
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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 09-005.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:7531
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  1. Robert Orlowski & Regina T. Riphahn, 2008. "The East German Wage Structure after Transition," CESifo Working Paper Series 2511, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Lorne Carmichael, 1983. "Firm-Specific Human Capital and Promotion Ladders," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(1), pages 251-258, Spring.
  3. Helen Connolly & Peter Gottschalk, 2000. "Differences in Wage Growth by Education Level: Do Less Educated Workers Gain Less from Work Experience?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 473, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 26 Aug 2006.
  4. James Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explanations With A Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings With Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 1-58, January.
  5. Daniel Parent, 1995. "Industry-Specific Capital and the Wage Profile: Evidence from the NLSY and the PSID," CIRANO Working Papers 95s-26, CIRANO.
  6. Hutchens, Robert M, 1987. "A Test of Lazear's Theory of Delayed Payment Contracts," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(4), pages S153-70, October.
  7. Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark, 1995. "Are Earnings Profiles Steeper Than Productivity Profiles? Evidence from Israeli Firm-Level Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 89-112.
  8. David N. Margolis, 1995. "Cohort Effects and Returns to Seniority in France," CIRANO Working Papers 95s-46, CIRANO.
  9. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-38, May.
  10. Zwick, Thomas, 2008. "The Employment Consequences of Seniority Wages," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-039, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  11. David Neumark & Paul Taubman, 1994. "Why Do Wage Profiles Slope Upwards? Tests of the General Human Capital Model," NBER Working Papers 4688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Hashimoto, Masanori & Raisian, John, 1985. "Employment Tenure and Earnings Profiles in Japan and the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 721-35, September.
  13. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Personnel Economics: Past Lessons and Future Directions," NBER Working Papers 6957, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Hutchens, Robert, 1986. "Delayed Payment Contracts and a Firm's Propensity to Hire Older Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(4), pages 439-57, October.
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