NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Do Large Modern Retailers Pay Premium Wages?

Brianna Cardiff-Hicks, Francine Lafontaine, Kathryn Shaw

NBER Working Paper No. 20313
Issued in July 2014
NBER Program(s):   LS

With malls, franchise strips and big-box retailers increasingly dotting the landscape, there is concern that middle-class jobs in manufacturing in the U.S. are being replaced by minimum wage jobs in retail. Retail jobs have spread, while manufacturing jobs have shrunk in number. In this paper, we characterize the wages that have accompanied the growth in retail. We show that wage rates in the retail sector rise markedly with firm size and with establishment size. These increases are halved when we control for worker fixed effects, suggesting that there is sorting of better workers into larger firms. Also, higher ability workers get promoted to the position of manager, which is associated with higher pay. We conclude that the growth in modern retail, characterized by larger chains of larger establishments with more levels of hierarchy, is raising wage rates relative to traditional mom-and-pop retail stores.

A non-technical summary of this paper is available in the December 2014 NBER digest.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Digest by email.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Information about Free Papers

You should expect a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

This paper was revised on November 12, 2014

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20313

Published: Brianna Cardiff-Hicks & Francine Lafontaine & Kathryn Shaw, 2015. "Do Large Modern Retailers Pay Premium Wages?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 68(3), pages 633-665, May. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Hsu, Matsa, and Melzer w20353 Positive Externalities of Social Insurance: Unemployment Insurance and Consumer Credit
Glaeser, Gottlieb, and Ziv w20291 Unhappy Cities
Acemoglu, Autor, Dorn, Hanson, and Price w20395 Import Competition and the Great U.S. Employment Sag of the 2000s
Suarez Serrato and Zidar w20289 Who Benefits from State Corporate Tax Cuts? A Local Labor Markets Approach with Heterogeneous Firms
Anderson, Kellogg, and Salant w20280 Hotelling Under Pressure
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us