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Intra-firm Wage Dispersion and Firm Performance

  • Rudolf Winter-Ebmer
  • Josef Zweimueller

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 008.

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  1. Alan S. Blinder & Don H. Choi, 1989. "A Shred of Evidence on Theories of Wage Stickiness," NBER Working Papers 3105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. George Baker & Michael Gibbs & Bengt Holmstrom, 1994. "The Wage Policy of a Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 921-955.
  3. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald & Peter Sanfey, 1992. "Wages, Profits and Rent-Sharing," NBER Working Papers 4222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 1994. "Endogenous Growth, Human Capital, and Industry Wages," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(4), pages 289-314, October.
  5. Blanchflower, David G & Oswald, Andrew J & Garrett, Mario D, 1990. "Insider Power in Wage Determination," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 57(226), pages 143-70, May.
  6. Ernst FEHR & Simon GÄCHTER & Georg KIRCHSTEIGER, 1994. "Reciprocal Fairness and Noncompensating Wage Differentials," Vienna Economics Papers vie9401, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
  7. Charles Brown & James L. Medoff, 1989. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect," NBER Working Papers 2870, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Hibbs, Douglas A, Jr & Locking, Hakan, 2000. "Wage Dispersion and Productive Efficiency: Evidence for Sweden," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(4), pages 755-82, October.
  9. Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Performance Pay and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1346-1361, December.
  10. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Efficiency of Equity in Organizational Decision Processes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 154-59, May.
  11. Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf & Zweimüller, Josef, 1994. "Immigration and the Earnings of Young Native Workers," CEPR Discussion Papers 936, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Fichtenbaum, Rudy & Shahidi, Hushang, 1988. "Truncation Bias and the Measurement of Income Inequality," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 6(3), pages 335-37, July.
  13. Richard B. Freeman, 1982. "Union Wage Practices and Wage Dispersion within Establishments," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 36(1), pages 3-21, October.
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  15. repec:sae:ilrrev:v:43:y:1990:i:3:p:13-29 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Rudolf Winter-Ebmer & Josef Zweimueller, . "Firm Size Wage Differentials in Switzerland: Evidence from Job Changers," IEW - Working Papers 001, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  17. Milgrom, Paul R, 1988. "Employment Contracts, Influence Activities, and Efficient Organization Design," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(1), pages 42-60, February.
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