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Intra-firm Wage Dispersion and Firm Performance

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  • Rudolf Winter-Ebmer
  • Josef Zweimueller

Abstract

Personnel economics has put forward conflicting arguments concerning the impact of increased wage dispersion within a firm on the productivity of its workers. Besides giving more incentives, bigger wage differentials might also give rise to less co-operation and more politicking amongst workers resulting in worse outcomes. We try to shed light on these issues using panel data for Austrian firms. As indicators for firm performance we use standardised wages. For white-collar wages the following picture emerges: more dispersion leads to higher earnings up to some point where the relation changes its direction. For blue-collar wages we find a positive association between dispersion and standardised wages between firms, but no relation within firms over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Rudolf Winter-Ebmer & Josef Zweimueller, "undated". "Intra-firm Wage Dispersion and Firm Performance," IEW - Working Papers 008, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:008
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    Cited by:

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    6. Bingley, P. & Eriksson, T, 2001. "Pay Spread and Skewness. Employee Effort and Firm Productivity," Papers 01-2, Aarhus School of Business - Department of Economics.
    7. Martins, Pedro S., 2008. "Dispersion in wage premiums and firm performance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 63-65, October.
    8. Pekka Ilmakunnas & Seija Ilmakunnas, 2011. "Diversity at the Workplace: Whom Does it Benefit?," De Economist, Springer, vol. 159(2), pages 223-255, June.
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    11. Thierry Lallemand & Robert Plasman & François Rycx, 2009. "Wage Structure and Firm Productivity in Belgium," NBER Chapters, in: The Structure of Wages: An International Comparison, pages 179-215, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Gächter, Simon & Thöni, Christian, 2010. "Social comparison and performance: Experimental evidence on the fair wage-effort hypothesis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 531-543, December.
    13. Koelling Arnd, 2017. "Labor Demand and Unequal Payments: Does Wage Dispersion Matter? Using German Employer-Employee Data to Analyze the Influence of Intra-Firm Wage Inequality on Labor Demand," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 68(1), pages 1-39, April.
    14. Luiz A. Esteves & Pedro S. Martins, 2008. "Is firm performance driven by fairness or tournaments? Evidence from Brazilian matched data," Working Papers 16, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
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    16. Poggi, Ambra & Natale, Piergiovanna, 2020. "Learning by hiring, network centrality and within-firm wage dispersion," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    17. Benoît Mahy & François Rycx & Mélanie Volral, 2011. "Does Wage Dispersion Make All Firms Productive?," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 58(4), pages 455-489, September.
    18. Christian Pfeifer, 2012. "The impact of industrial relations and wage structures on repayment agreements for employer-financed training," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(4), pages 3287-3297.
    19. Kampkötter, Patrick & Sliwka, Dirk, 2011. "Differentiation and Performance: An Empirical Investigation on the Incentive Effects of Bonus Plans," IZA Discussion Papers 6070, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    wage dispersion; incentives; firm productivity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence

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