NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Wage Structure and Firm Productivity in Belgium

Thierry Lallemand, Robert Plasman, Francois Rycx

NBER Working Paper No. 12978
Issued in March 2007
NBER Program(s):   LS

The objective of this paper is twofold. First, we analyse the structure of wages within and between Belgian firms. Next, we examine how the productivity of these firms is influenced by their internal wage dispersion. To do so, we use a large matched employer-employee data set (i.e., a combination of the 1995 'Structure of Earnings' and 'Structure of Business' Surveys). On the basis of the methodology developed by Winter-Ebmer and Zweimuller (1999), we find that within-firm wage dispersion has a positive and significant effect on firm productivity. This result is robust to controls for individual and firm characteristics as well as to instrumenting the wage inequality variable. Findings also suggest that the intensity of this effect is stronger within firms with: i) a majority of blue-collar workers, and ii) a high degree of monitoring. These results are more in line with the 'tournament' models than with the 'fairness, morale and cohesiveness' models.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12978

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