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Managing Employee Retention Concerns: Evidence from U.S. Census Data

Eva Labro and James D. Omartian

Working Papers from U.S. Census Bureau, Center for Economic Studies

Abstract: Using Census microdata on 14,000 manufacturing plants, we examine how firms man age employee retention concerns in response to local wage pressure. We validate our measure of employee retention concerns by documenting that plants respond with wage increases, and do so more when the employees’ human capital is higher. We doc ument substantial use of non-wage levers in response to retention concerns. Plants shift incentives to increase the likelihood that bonuses can be paid: performance target transparency declines, as does the use of localized performance metrics for bonuses. Furthermore, promotions become more meritocratic, ensuring key employees can be promoted and retained. Lastly, decision-making authority at the plant-level increases, offering more agency to local employees. We find evidence consistent with inequity aversion constraining the response to local wage pressure, and document spillovers in both wage and non-wage reactions across same-firm plants.

Keywords: Retention concerns; Inequity aversion; Multi-divisional firms (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 50 pages
Date: 2023-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-bec, nep-hrm and nep-lma
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Downloads: (external link) First version, 2023 (application/pdf)

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