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ISER Working Paper Series 2009-13

The sources of interindustry wage differentials

Authors

Publication date

31 Mar 2009

Abstract

We analyse the nature of interindustry wage differentials using Portuguese data. Es-
timates from models controlling for observed worker and firm characteristics reveal sig-
nificant and persistent raw interindustry di¤erentials, which questions the competitive
model of the labour market. However, estimates controlling for unobserved worker het-
erogeneity suggest that the raw di¤erentials are due to the concentration of high wage
workers in certain industries and not to genuine di¤erences in compensation across industries. However, a complete decomposition shows that (i) firm effects on average explain 70% of the industry wage premia, and (ii) genuine and sizeable interindustry wage differentials exist. These di¤erentials are shown to increase the time to separation from firms, and are therefore compatible with the competitive model.

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working paper

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